Whole Red Snapper (Asian Style) with Fresh Pan Fried Sardines as an Appetizer

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As I mentioned in our last post, we went to New Deal Seafood (www.newdealfishmarket.com) in Cambridge yesterday and picked up some fish to prepare our seafood feast. Above is the 2.5 pound whole red snapper we purchased, initially with the idea of stuffing it and baking it. Somewhere along the line we decided we were craving a more Asian style dish so after perusing the 4-5 Asian themed cookbooks we have I came up with the following recipe:

1 whole red snapper (or other favorite whole fish) – ours was 2.5 lbs

1/4 cup tamari soy sauce

3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce

1/2 teaspoon chili garlic paste (or as much Asian chili pepper as you like)

Juice of 1 whole lime

1/2 cup coconut milk

3 tablespoons of grated fresh (or frozen) ginger

5-6 scallions, chopped

2 shallots, minced

2 tablespoons olive or other veg oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Take the cleaned fish and place on a huge piece of tin foil. You are going to make a packet out of the tin foil so make sure there is enough to make a loose but well sealed packet around your fish. Combine the soy sauce, fish sauce, ginger, chili, lime juice and coconut milk in a bowl. Chop the scallions and mince the shallots. Take the olive oil and rub the outside of the whole fish. Then take scallions and shallot and scatter around, under and INSIDE the fish, then pour the soy-coconut milk mixture all over the fish (also make sure to get some inside the cavity of the fish). Close up the foil pouch, making sure that all openings are sealed so that the fish essentially steams inside with this marinade. Place in the preheated oven for 40 minutes.

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The fish should be cooked all the way through at this point, and be very careful with all the fish bones.  The flavor is very delicate. You could make an additional dipping sauce to dial up the flavor or serve it with a 1/2 lime (as we did). As a side dish, we had fresh green beans, blanched and then sauteed with garlic and olive oil.

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As an appetizer, my husband prepared 4 fresh whole sardines with a tasty white wine sauce adapted from The Silver Spoon cookbook. I’m not a huge fan of sardines, I think the taste is too fishy but I have to admit that this was very good. The following is the recipe as he made it:

4 whole fresh sardines, cleaned and dusted with flour

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove of garlic

1 fresh rosemary sprig

1 bay leaf

3/4 cup white wine

salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees – ours was already at 400 making the fish above, so if you are already making something else, just use that temp. Dust the sardines with flour and set aside. Place oil, garlic, rosemary and bay leaf in a sauce pan (0ne that you can transfer to the oven) and turn the heat to medium high. Brown the garlic lightly and then add the floured sardines to the pan. The idea is to brown the sardines on each side so they get a crispy coating. Remove sardines and herbs & garlic from the pan. You can discard the herbs & garlic and place the sardines on a plate. Add the white wine to the pan to deglaze it and get some of the brown bits up, reducing the liquid by half. Add sardines back into the pan and place the whole pan into the oven for 15 minutes (if oven is at 400, 20 minutes if it is at 350). Serve with your favorite crusty bread.

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2 Responses

  1. I love sardines, but those are the most disgusting sardines I have ever seen. Why post such a picture?

  2. Heh… well, to be honest, it’s the only one I had of them. They tasted a lot better than they looked though !

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