Thanks Campion and Curtis!

Thankyou to Allan Campion who included a link to this blog in his most recent Newsletter.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Baby Snapper with Roasted Rice Crust, with Cucumber, Coriander, Shaved Coconut Salad and Red Nam Jim

So, here we are, my first recipe from the book. No excuses now... I've started the challenge and I'm going to see it through!
This recipe is really perfect if you are new to Thai cooking and don't quite understand the whole 'flavour balance' thang. Especially when making the Nam Jim, because you use so much of each flavour you don't really have to be perfectly accurate in the balance, there's a little room to move, but you still want a good balance of hot (chilli), sour (lime), sweet (palm sugar) and salty (fish sauce). My problem with the Nam Jim, was that the only limes I could find were $3 each, so getting the required amount of lime juice from fresh limes was going to be quite expensive. As an alternative, I used Volcom Lime Juice out of a bottle. The flavour wasn't bad... not like some lime juices out of squeeze bottles, but still nowhere near the same as a fresh lime.
The Nam Jim is the perfect dressing to go with the salad and the crunchy fish.

A little trick I used for the Salad, when slicing up the cucumber, I sliced it using a little shredder type grater, which basically Juliennes your vegetables for you. I picked one of these up for $6 from Minh Phat Supermarket (oh how I love this place!!) on Victoria St, in Richmond. It comes in handy for all your Asian salads. I used much less coconut in the salad than the recipe suggested, simply because we were also making a coconut sorbet, so I only added the leftover coconut to the salad.

I couldn't find any Baby Snapper when I was shopping (admittedly I didn't look too hard since it was 42c outside!) I managed to pick up 2 good sized Snapper for $17 down Victoria St again, which was fine for the 3 of us.

I filleted the Snapper myself. I've never filleted Snapper before (can you tell?) so I got a bit stuck with what to do around the rib cage, but I managed to get the fillets with out too many rips or tears in the flesh.

This is the Nam Jim. The recipe calls for quite a few chillies, but once you've removed the seeds and bashed them up in the mortar and pestle and mixed them with the rest of the ingredients, they're surprisingly quite mild. You get the taste and colour of the chilli, more than any great heat, it's very, very tasty.

When you're trying to get your balance of flavours with the Nam Jim, make sure you add the ingredients, little by little, so that you can adjust the flavours to your liking.

Place a little mound of the salad on the plate.....

Drizzle with some of the Nam Jim Sauce and top the salad with a the halved fillets.
Ezard has a special deep fried shallot garnish, but seeing it's a bit of a hassle to deep fry, just for the garnish, I cheated a just bought a pack of deep fried shallots, not quite the same as Ezard's, but it gets still looks OK, it just doesn't have the height or the heat of the chilli.

If I made this again, I'd definately use fresh limes and I'd also leave the fish to fry for longer in the pan, to colour the skin side a little more, as you can see it's still a little pale. A fantastic tasting dish though and not too hard for my first recipe of the challenge.

No comments: