Red Snapper in Red Sauce

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I made a bold move last night and switched from the cookbook that I’ve been cooking from all week, to Mark Bittman’s The Best Recipes in the World.

Red Snapper or Other Fillets in Red Sauce
(adapted from Mark Bittman’s The Best Recipes in the World)

4 small red chiles, stemmed, seeded, and roughly chopped (I only used 3)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 shallots, roughly chopped
one 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon ground tumeric
1 1/2 to 2 pound fillets of red snapper, sea bass, grouper, or halibut, skinned and cut into 2- inch chunks (I used red snapper and forgot to cut it into chunks!)
2 tablespoons corn, grapesee, or other neutral oil
2 tablespoons Tamarind Paste (he lists a recipe the making of Tamarind Paste)
1 teaspoon nam pla, plus more to taste
2 scallions, trimmed and chopped for garnish

Place the chiles, garlic, shallots, ginger and tumeric in a food processor and process until pasty (I used my immersion blender and it worked pretty good). Spread this on the fish (you can cover and refrigerate for a few hours – I did).

Heat the oil (preferably nonstick skillet) over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the fish fillets and cook until the fish is fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Combine the tamarind paste with 1 cup water and add to the pan; bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer, stirring gently once or twice, until the fish is cooked through (about 5 to 10 minutes). Season to taste with the nam pla, garnish with scallions and serve.

What you might be noticing is that my fish sauce does not look very red. I didn’t follow his instructions exactly on making the tamarind paste, since I didn’t need such a large amount. I think that I ended up making it way too weak. But even with the weak tamarind sauce, this was excellent. The paste on the fish gave it just enough heat. I served it over jasmine rice with a little cilantro stirred in. I will definitely make this again. It’s a nice change from the fish curries that I usually make.

With this, I served Cooking Light’s Asian Cucumber Salad. I left out the red onions because, one they were in the basement, and I was too lazy to walk down the stairs, and two, I am not that crazy about raw onions.

It’s still good without the onions. Besides in my house, you pretty much eat what I like. That means you will not be served lentils, lima beans, summer squash, or raw onions very often. And you will never, ever be served liver. Does anyone still eat liver anymore, anyway?

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