One thing I incredibly respect about Chinese cuisine and cooking is the full use of the animals. They eat chicken feet, hearts, livers, pig snouts, and hooves, you name it. And yes while I myself do not particularly find all of these animal parts appealing I cannot but have the utmost respect for the creative way in which they use these organs in the cooking process.
If you are going to eat an animal you really should eat all the parts, or at least somehow use all the parts in the cooking process. At least in this way no part of the animal is wasted or thrown out. Even the bones are saved and used to make soups or to flavor other dishes. This is an incredibly resourceful way of cooking and really the only way to show some gratitude to the animal that provided your meal.
In the US on the other hand you rarely see multiple parts of an animal on the menu. And even if a person does eat chicken that may literally mean they only eat chicken breast meat. They may not even eat chicken thighs. Where are all the other parts of the animal going in the US? Are they being shipped to China? Or just thrown out?
While I can’t say I’m ready to prepare a whole chicken and eat all the organs I can at least do this with fish. Did you know that with some fish the whole fish is caught, frozen, shipped off to another country to be de-boned (usually China) and then shipped back to the US in neat little fillet packages?
Seriously? That is just wrong.
And let’s face it – it’s about time we know what the whole animal that we are getting our dinner from looks like.
Instead of buying fish fillet as I used to, more recently I’ve started buying whole fish. Sure, you need to gut and scale it but don’t worry the friendly fish monger can do this for you.
Though with a whole fish you do have to do a little bit of leg work, what with picking out the bones and all, the process is rewarding and the dish is more delicious than your standard fillet.
Don’t even get me started on my all time favorite fish recipe (branzini in Asian sauce), that fish could not be made with simply a fillet.
You need the whole thing. Head and all. This recipe is no different. This fish recipe seems to be a fusion of both Indian and Thai flavors. Either way the two complement each other perfectly and with the broiler jumping in to help the fish is ready in 30 minutes.
The smell is incredible and with a lightly crispy skin and lime flavored sauce you’ll be asking for seconds.
If you’ve never cooked with a whole fish before I urge you to try it. You won’t regret it!
- For the fish:
- 1 red snapper (about 1½ pounds), cleaned - gutted.
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 3 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- For the sauce:
- 4 shallots, thinly sliced
- 5 Thai chillies, chop
- salt to taste
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- In a small bowl, combine coriander, turmeric, minced garlic, olive oil, fish sauce, salt and pepper.
- Rinse fish under cold water, and pat dry. Using a sharp knife, make 3 slashes on both sides without cutting all the way through.
- Rub the seasoning all over the fish including the inside.
- Place the fish on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Broil on high for 7 to 10 minutes on each side. Remove from the broiler, and cover loosely with aluminum foil.
- To make sauce, in a small bowl combine shallots, chilis, salt, lime juice, olive oil and fish sauce. Put sauce on top of fish before serving.
Recipe Adapted From Elra’s Cooking