Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Vietnamese Fish with Pineapple Relish

When I lived in the Northeast and could get a wide variety of fresh fish, I would occasionally poach a salmon and serve it cold with some kind of sauce. Here in Tennessee, it's hard to get any fish fresh unless it's catfish or crappy (believe it or not, crappy is a kind of fish, not an adjective). But it turns out that poached catfish is very tasty with Asian style seasonings, and poaching keeps the fish moist enough for a bandster to enjoy. We ate it hot, but I think it'd be good cold as well. Don't be put off by the amount of sesame oil in this recipe. It seems like a lot, but you won't be consuming all that oil unless you drink the poaching liquid. You can substitute other fish for the catfish, but make sure it's a meaty fish that won't fall apart in the poaching liquid.

2 tablespoons brown sugar (or 1 tablespoon Splenda brown sugar blend)
3/4 cup water

1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1-2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce

3 tablespoons Nuoc Mam (fish sauce)*
1 pound fish fillets, cut in thirds
2 scallions, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Heat the water with the brown sugar in a medium saucepan until the sugar has dissolved. Add sesame oil, garlic, ginger, chili-garlic sauce, and fish sauce and heat until it simmers. Add the fish pieces and turn them to coat with the poach liquid. Return the mixture to a simmer, cover and cook 5 minutes. Uncover and cook another 2-3 minutes, until the fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork. Remove from heat and garnish with scallions and cilantro. Serve with pineapple relish (recipe below). Serves 3-4.

* for the fish sauce, you can substitute 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of water, and 1/4 teaspoon anchovy paste

1/2 fresh pineapple, cored and diced small
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (a mix of red and green works well)
2 scallions, chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon grated lemon or lime rind
3 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
1 teaspoon hot sauce (or more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving (to allow the flavors to blend).

No comments: