Give in to the Fragrant Pleasures of Lemongrass!

Do you know your climate zone? I live in 5b. Plants must be able to withstand temperatures of -15F, hardly a tropical paradise. Nevertheless lemongrass thrives in my garden. I attribute this to living near the beach; a microclimate that keeps us cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

Lemongrass in the garden

When our cat takes a walk in the garden, she heads directly for the fragrant lemongrass plant. Its long strands mimic the dental floss quality of her favorite chew toys. Fortunately, cooking requires I use only the inner root of the plant.

Petra Nibbling on Lemongrass

Recently I created my favorite lemongrass dish. Cooler temperatures had brought English peas back to the farmer’s market.They added a pleasing pop to roasted salmon and sweet potatoes in a lemongrass coconut milk sauce.

English Peas

Roasted Salmon and Sweet Potatoes with English Peas in Lemongrass Sauce

Serves 4

3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

A drizzle of olive oil




1lb. salmon filet

1 handful English peas, shelled

1 can coconut milk

2 inches of ginger thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic, smashed

4 tablespoons fish sauce

1½ tablespoon brown sugar

1½ teaspoon soy sauce

¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

6 stalks lemongrass, (remove outer layer, root and stalks) cut into ½ inch pieces

Lemongrass Root
Outer Layer of the Lemongrass Root Split Open

Preheat the oven to 400F. Put the salmon in a roasting pan. Season with lemon, salt and pepper.

Put the cubed sweet potatoes on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Toss and roast for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, open the oven and toss the potatoes so that other sides can brown. Return the potatoes to the oven and put in the pan of salmon. Roast the salmon and sweet potatoes for 20 minutes more.

While the fish and potatoes are roasting, start the sauce. Bring the coconut milk to a boil. Add all ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain; press on the solids with the back of a spoon to extract more flavors. Return the strained sauce to the pan and keep warm on low.

Combine the peas with ¼ cup of water. Simmer for 6-8 minutes over medium heat until tender. Add the peas to the sauce.

Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and cover with foil. Check to see that the salmon is cooked through. Return  the fish to oven in three-minute increments if more time is needed. Let the salmon rest for five minutes covered with foil.

Surround each salmon filet and with roasted sweet potatoes. Spoon the sauce and peas over the top.

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