All Vietnamese cuisine is known for being fresh, relatively light, aromatic and VERY flavorful. This dish is no exception and very easy to prepare, as long as you have the necessary ingredients in-house.
- 1 TBSP Brined Green Peppercorns (Sold jarred...any Asian market...)
- 1 TBSP Fresh Red Chilies (Jalapeños will do in a pinch...)
- 1 TBSP Fish Sauce
- 1 TBSP Peanut Oil
- 1 Large Onion, thinly sliced
- 2-inch piece Fresh Ginger, thinly sliced
- 3 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 TSP Sugar
- ¼ Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
- 2 TBSP Fish Sauce
- 1 TBSP Sugar
- 2 Small Red Chilies (Jalapeños will do in a pinch...), finely chopped
- 3 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
- Spring Onions, shredded or diced (however you like...)
- Cilantro Leaves, coarsely chopped
2. Clean the fish (this is the yucky part...). Make some diagonal slits on both sides of the fish. Rub the paste over both sides and in the cavity. Let the fish marinade for 30 minutes.
3. While you're waiting, make the topping. Sauté the onion in the oil. When softened, add the remaining ingredients and fry until they are nicely browned and caramelized. Remove from heat.
4. Now you can make the dipping sauce. Dissolve the sugar in the liquids, then add the solids and whisk together. That's done...
5. On a pre-heated BBQ grill, cook the fish. We like to use cooking stones on the grill, but a heavy skillet or even aluminum foil will work fine. Cook the fish until the skin is crispy and the flesh opaque, flipping only once. Use your judgement based upon the size of the fish.
6. Plate the cooked fish, cover with the topping, then add the garnish. Serve with the dipping sauce on the side and al dente rice noodles (banh pho would be the most traditional, but use whatever you like...)
Here's the final product:
Exceedingly simple, yet elegant and delicious.
Until next time...