My house-mate was going to be absent for a while, so left me a small snapper in the freezer. In all honesty, I'm fairly nervous when it comes to cooking fish; there's just so many elements that can go wrong from overcooking and under-cooking, to not having the perfect balance between flavours, and perhaps most importantly, not working with fresh ingredients. I prefer fresh fish to frozen, especially when the last point is taken into consideration, but it was a much appreciated gift nevertheless.
Being at a loss on what to cook, I consulted my meagre collection of books and came up blank. Thankfully, I can rely on the Internet and ended up with this tasty (and relatively healthy) recipe influenced by Thai flavours (or at least, as close to Thai flavours as I understand, without truly understanding what authentic Thai means). I had a smaller fish, but increased the relative proportion of the other ingredients as I prefer stronger flavours.
In any case, the first step is to prepare all the ingredients.
|Chillies, Rice Vinegar+Brown Sugar+Water, Garlic+Ginger, Basil, Tomatoes+Capsicum|
After the cavity of the snapper is stuffed with basil leaves, frying on both sides gives the skin a nice crispiness. Thirty or so minutes in the oven whilst marinating the fish sauce, completes the cooking process.
The remaining ingredients are cooked in the remnant peanut oil; the garlic, ginger, chillies and capsicum first, followed by the sugar, rice vinegar, water, and tomatoes. The fish without the sauce is a little bland, so this concoction ties the dish together nicely.
|Sauce Part I|
Baked Snapper with Chilli, Ginger and Basil
Adapted from Allrecipes.com. Serves 2.
- 1 small red snapper (approximately 350g), cleaned and scaled
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, shredded
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
- 3 small red chillies, sliced diagonally
- 1 yellow capsicum, sliced
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tomatoes, sliced
- Basil leaves for garnish
- Preheat oven to 190°C.
- Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil. Stuff the cavity of the snapper with the basil leaves and set aside.
- Heat the peanut oil in a large wok over high heat until it begins to smoke. Place the snapper in the wok, and quickly brown on both sides, about 1 minute total. Place the fish into the roasting pan, and sprinkle with fish sauce. Reserve the peanut oil in the wok.
- Bake fish in preheated oven until the flesh flakes easily with a fork which will take roughly 30 minutes
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining peanut oil in the wok over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, ginger, chillies and yellow capsicum and cook until the capsicum has softened (about 5 minutes).
- Stir in the sugar, rice vinegar, water, and tomatoes.
- Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat until thickened to desired consistency. Pour the sauce over the snapper, and garnish with extra basil leaves to serve.
- Serve with stir-fried Asian greens and steamed rice.
|Baked Snapper with Chilli, Ginger and Basil|