Sunday, August 11, 2013

Whole red snapper with coconut curry

I felt inspired today, and ended up experimenting with some really good results. I bought two whole, beautiful red snapper today at the Yellow Green Farmers Market. I always made excuses in the past as to why I couldn't cook whole fish. S said he would be willing to give it a try. I also bought some lovely curry powder. I looked up a few curry recipes, and whole snapper recipes, including the recipe on the back of my can of coconut milk. I ended up finagling together a recipe, and it turned out marvelously.

First, starting with good fish is important. This snapper was frozen, but the purveyor said it cleaned and flash frozen immediately after it was caught. When I defrosted it, the fish was clean smelling, its eyes were red, which means it is most likely real red snapper, and the eyes were clear, not cloudy.

Based on the recipes I had skimmed on making whole snapper, I scored the flesh by cutting three diagonal lines on each side with a sharp knife, the full thickness of the flesh. I salted and dredged the first fish in flour, then put it in a few inches of hot vegetable oil in a large skillet, enough to submerge it about half way. I let it cook for about five minutes or so, then flipped it. The skin was crispy and brown.

 While the fish was cooking, a put a few tablespoons of oil in a small pot and warmed it over medium heat. I added my new curry to the oil and bloomed it. I added some grated fresh ginger, some diced garlic, and some lime zest. Then I added a few splurts of oyster sauce. I poured a can of coconut milk in, and heated it to a boil. I threw in a whole cayenne pepper from my garden. Sorry, that was the only pepper I had. After it simmered for a while and thickened, I squeezed in the juice of a whole large lime, and turned off the heat.

When the first fish was done, I took it out and kept it warm in the toaster oven and fried the second one. When they were done, I served it over rice. I poured the curry sauce over the fish, cut up some fresh mango from the tree around the corner and put it on the side, and garnished it with a healthy pile of chopped cilantro and basil, which was also from my garden. It was knockout good. So good. S and I left heads and bones.

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