The Cliff, the most elegant restaurant in Barbados, lives up to its name. It's cliffside views are so spectacular, you feel like you are in a fairyland. Chef Paul Owens, an Englishman who's lived in Barbados for 15 years, uses culinary influences from all over the world with a Bajan sway. I loved his Thai-influenced curry, which uses lots of Barbadian peppers for colour and zest. Serve this rich curry in small portions over steamed rice.
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Thai green curry shrimp with fried basil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Thai green curry paste
1 400-millilitre can coconut milk
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
12 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 cup shredded basil
1 Asian eggplant, sliced on the bias ¼-inch (5 millimetres) thick
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup whole basil leaves
1/2 cup very thinly sliced red pepper
1/2 cup very thinly sliced yellow pepper
1/2 cup very thinly sliced green pepper
Heat oil in a saucepan over high heat and add curry paste and half cup coconut milk. Cook for 2 minutes or until oil begins to separate from sauce. Add sugar, fish sauce and remaining coconut milk, and bring to boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 8 minutes or until thickened. Add shrimp, turn heat to medium-low and cook for 3 minutes or until pink and cooked through. Add basil and season with salt to taste.
Toss eggplant with 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper. Heat a grill pan over high heat and cook eggplant for 2 minutes a side or until grill-marked and cooked through. Cut cooked slices in half or in thirds if large. Reserve.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small pot. Add basil leaves to oil a few at a time and fry for 30 seconds or until crisp. Drain on paper towels.
Spoon shrimp and sauce over individual portions of rice, top with grilled eggplant and a small handful of sliced peppers, and sprinkle fried basil over top.