“Run Down” is a popular local specialty from the coastal community of Pearl Lagoon. Although I suspect that nearly everyone has their own spin on it, the four basic ingredients are fresh coconut milk, yucca, plantain and fish. In this version I’ve added a few extra ingredients which are typically easy to find in places less isolated that Pearl Lagoon. Like all rustic cuisine, improvisation, innovation and using what’s available is part of the game so feel free to adapt to suit your tastes.
Pearl Lagoon Style ‘Run Down’- serves 4ingredients:
6-8 cloves peeled garlic (or more if you prefer) peeled and chopped
1 medium onion diced
1 Roma tomato coarse chopped
2 stalks celery w/ leaves chopped
3 tablespoons fresh albahaca leaves (small leaf Nicaraguan basil)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped culantro (optional)
2-4 finely sliced hot peppers (use the fiery hot tiny ones: optional but suggested)
1 Tablespoon sea salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
500ml chicken stock or water (packaged consomme if you must)
750ml/24 oz. coconut milk (one large can or 2 small ones)
6 tablespoons veg oil
2 green plantains peeled and cut in thirds
4-6 medium pieces yucca peeled and halved
12 chilote (husked)
1 chayote peeled and cut into medium cubes
2 1lb whole fish- scaled and gills removed (I prefer salt water fish like pargo or corvina)
- Cover yucca with salted water and bring to boil. Cover and par boil (about 15 minutes or so) then add plantains and continue to boil until fork tender. Drain and retain. I prefer to use a large cast iron kettle for all of the following steps. If not available a large stainless steel (non-reactive) pot is a decent substitution.
- Crush and chop garlic
- Sauté lightly in oil then add chopped onions, celery and tomato, chilote and chayote and continue to sauté.
- Add fresh albahaca, parsely, salt & pepper (and sliced hot peppers if desired) and stock (or water) and simmer for several minutes.
- Add coconut milk and raise heat to a medium boil
- Add (cooked) yucca, plantains and whole fish. Cover and cook on a medium flame until fish is cooked through, 5-8 minutes depending on size of the fish.
- Taste broth to adjust salt if necessary
- Serve in oversized bowls
- Garnish with fresh albahaca leaves and chopped culantro.