Thursday, April 17, 2014

Crispy Red Snapper with Chili Tamarind Sauce

If you are from Cleveland, then you most definitely have been to the West Side Market before.  It is one of my absolute favorite places in this city.  If you are visiting from out of town and want to go somewhere with a rich, local history and amazing food, then get your tush down to the West Side Market.  

The market is filled with tons of unique and local vendors.  Pretty much anything you want, it's there.  Spices. Oils. Meats. Smoked Meats. Cheese. Produce. Crepes. Gyros. Breads. Sweets. Fish. It is truly a gem in this great town.  

We went last weekend and found this gorgeous red snapper at the Classic Seafood booth.  The nice gentlemen at the booth filleted it for me and sent me home with the bones and head to make some stock! Since I had an empty schedule that day, I decided to make something special and this is the end result.   

I realize you are probably looking at this recipe and probably saying, "I don't have time nor do I have half of those ingredients!".  Well, the good thing is that you don't have to make it all if you don't want because each of the separate components are just fine on their own.   The slaw is light, fresh and a perfect side.  The crispy fish can be served with a little squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of fresh herbs.  

Take what you wish from this but if you do have the time and resources, it really is a stunning dish!  

You don't have to make fish stock but I had the time and ingredients to do so.  Low-sodium boxed would do just fine.

This slaw is so refreshing and pairs nicely with the crispy fish and rich sauce.

Here are most of the ingredients for the sauce.  It is a mix of sour, spicy, salty and sweet and super delicious.  This Tandoori seasoning is made up of coriander, cumin, sweet paprika, garlic, ginger, cardamom and saffron and can be purchased here. If you don't have coconut sugar, brown sugar or honey would work just fine.  

Chop and grate the ginger, chili, garlic and shallot.

Fish stock is ready.  Strain and cool.

Add the aromatics to the coconut oil.

Then add stock...

And tamarind paste.  This is one of the main ingredients used in Pad Thai and has a sour taste.

This is with all of the ingredients added.  It really thickens up.  Add more stock as needed while cooking on low.

I made a quick little dressing for the slaw.

Be sure to season the fish with salt and pepper.

Batter time!  The rice flour makes for a very light and crispy crust, very similar to tempura.

Dunk the fish in the batter.

Then fry in 375 degree oil. 

I also like to dress the slaw last minute so it stays crisp and not soggy.  

Crispy Red Snapper with Chili Tamarind Sauce

2 carrots
2 ribs of celery
3 cloves garlic
1 onion
1 tablespoon peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon salt
6 cups water

Throw all ingredients in a pot and simmer over medium heat for 30-45 minutes.  Drain and reserve for later use.

Chili Tamarind Sauce
1 tablespoon coconut oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch knob ginger, grated
1 Thai chili pepper, thinly sliced
1 shallot, minced
3/4 cup fish stock
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
2 tablespoons coconut sugar (or honey or brown sugar)
1 teaspoon Tandoori seasoning (can be purchased here)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons Sriracha

In a shallow sauce pan, melt coconut oil over medium heat.  Add garlic, ginger, chili pepper and shallot and saute for 5 minutes until soft.  Add stock, tamarind paste, coconut sugar, Tandoori, fish sauce and Sriracha.   Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.  Set aside.

Fish and Batter
1/3 cup rice flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup water, chilled with ice cubes

2-4 red snapper fillets, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper
Cilantro, roughly chopped for garnish
Lime wedges, for garnish

Peanut oil for frying

Add enough oil to the pan so it is about 1/2 inch deep.  Preheat until oil reaches 375-400 degrees.

In a small bowl, add rice flour, salt and baking powder.  Whisk to combine.  Slowly add ice cold water and whisk until a thin batter forms.

Season fish with salt and pepper.  Dip each filet in the batter then place in the hot oil. Fry for 3-5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel lined sheet pan.  Place fish in 250 degree oven to keep warm.  

When ready to serve, place fish on top of a plate with spoonfuls of tamarind sauce.  Top with cilantro and wedges of lime.

Slaw + Dressing
2 cups savoy cabbage
1/2 cup red pepper, thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons olive oil

Prepare vegetables by chopping and slicing them.  Place in a bowl.

For the dressing, add soy sauce, vinegar, honey, sesame oil, onion and garlic powder to a small bowl and whisk together.  Slowly add the olive oil and whisk until emulsified.

Ten minutes prior to serving, toss vegetables with dressing.  Serve as a side for the fish.

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