Tuesday, September 21, 2004

(Not the same-old, same-old) Escabeche

A bit of a Thai influence...I've had a similarly tasting dish in a famous Chinese restaurant in Boston.

For the fish :
2 lbs. of fish, fillets, whole or steaks; these are grouper steaks
a dusting of turmeric (optional)
salt and pepper

For the sauce:
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 slice of peeled ginger
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 cup tamarind puree/liquid, mixed with 3/4 cup of hot water;
or the equivalent from fresh tamarind or tamarind block
1 tsp (or more) chili paste
a smidgen of sugar or more
fish sauce/soy sauce to taste
1/4 cup finely sliced scallions
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
a few sprigs of cilantro

Peanut oil for frying

Rub the fish w/ turmeric(if using), salt and pepper until dark golden brown. Scoop out and drain in paper towels. Pour off oil except for a tbsp. or so and then saute garlic, ginger, & shallots. Pour tamarind water mixture, chili paste, soy/fish sauce, and stir. Turn up heat and set to boil. (At this point,if liquid evaporates, add water or chicken broth.) Add scallions, red bell peppers and fried fish. Simmer and stir gently, taking care not to break up the fish. Season again as needed. Garnish with cilantro. (If you like a thicker sauce add a tsp. of cornstarch dissolved in a tbsp. of water.)

This sauce works well with steam-fried duck legs,too (omit turmeric, fry legs in a "starter" amount of oil, around 1 tsp., over medium heat with a tight fitting cover over your pan or wok. Watch closely and turn, frying for about 12 minutes each side according to the thickness of the meat. The fat that renders out of the duck is great for frying/roasting potatoes, sinfully good.).