Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Fresh Catch on the Grass


Getting sufficient omega-3 has never been a problem for me. I eat fishes and leaves on a regular basis. Especially at the end of each week, there's always a fish on my dining table.

I've been eating fishes since, no, before I was born. My mum loves eating fish so much. Not a day has passed without a fish on her chopboard. When I was still a foetus, I must have been taking in a lot of omega-3. When I was a toddler, I used to play with the fishes mum bought home (in this part of the world, people prefer live fishes). When I was a kid, I started going to the wet market to get fishes for the family. When I was a teenager, I was doing most of mum's jobs. In
short, this seemingly uninspiring creature means a good lot to me.

Here in Tung Chung, we have fresh catches from the surrounding waters and sold in the market everyday. Those who don't know where Tung Chung (東涌) is, it's a town in Lantau Island, not far from the international airport of Hong Kong. It was a fisherman's village back few decades ago, before the airport was built. Although it's an entirely different make-up now, if you travel a bit down west and south, you'll still see the old charms of Tung Chung and other parts of the Island.

This fish is one of the catches from this part of the sea. This time of the year, it's the best season for many species, especially the snappers. And this one,
Lentjan (海連尖), roughly classified as a snapper family member, is my all-time favourite.

Bought live from the market here over the weekend. A few avid supporters of this blog would instantly know this creature has appeared here before. This fish is probably the most underrated species in the market. She never appears on restaurant's menu. She never draws the attention of the majority of the cooks. She is rarely barely on anyone's list. But, of course, to make her appearance here twice, she must possess a meaningful degree of charm.

Again, this fish was a live catch. I was able to do a bit of sashimi. And its size was big enough for me to add a few twists to an usual cooking recipe. Remember the
"Pan-grilled Lentjan with a Double-lime Twist" back last August, I was using lime leaves, garlic, ginger and extra virgin olive oil as a marinate. Here, I kicked out the garlic, reduced the role of lime leaves and ginger and brought in the grass.

Let's see the ingredients, nothing extravagant:
1. two straws of lemongrass, remove the top and bottom parts and chop them finely; and
2. tiny bit of ginger and lime leaves, finely shredded;

Use a real sharp knife to slice off the meat from the fish (I had literally gone through a whole sharpening process). The meat was so super fresh. I made myself a small piece of sashimi. With a drop of soya sauce, it was gorgeously sweet. This act is not encouraged, however, as water in the wet market is most likely contaminated.

Okay, marinate the meat with lemongrass, lime leaves, ginger, extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of flour, sea-salt and fresh ground pepper (preferably a mix of white and black). Leave it for one hour.

Heat up the pan to a grilling temperature, with a few drops of oil. Toss the fish onto the pan. The skin side should be on top first. Leave it for 2 minutes, until it gets "toasted". Lower the heat a little. Turn over and give it another minute.

Give it some more fresh pepper and it's done! Sprinkle a few drops of extra virgin olive oil. Fresh lime juice is entirely optional. That night, I had the usual Chinese green, also from the local soil, to go with. Omega-3 never runs short, not on me.

With this fish and this recipe, I never bother to make a sauce. The ingredients are just enough to bring out the flavours of the fish while keeping its tenderness intact. When served with a fresh cut grass sauvignon blanc, the charm of this fish will start flirting with your taste buds. And you will forever be begging for more!



Blogger GM5 said...

Wow! This fish looks so cool from this angle.

10:19 PM GMT+8  
Blogger La Cuoca said...

Very interesting blog. Kiss kiss

11:26 PM GMT+8  
Blogger GM5 said...

Sashimi looks great! How do you know the fish is fresh enough for doing sashimi?

12:01 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:32 AM GMT+8  
Blogger kEV said...

Garzie, la cuoca. Your Italian recipes are very inspiring too. Unfortunately I can't read Italian.

GM5, it's a live fish there. No questions about it!

12:39 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous eliza said...

a clean nice fish dish! are those kaffir limes you had in the background?

10:54 AM GMT+8  
Blogger kEV said...

Thanks, Eliza! Yes, those are kaffir limes from Thailand. A few squeezes on the fish tempers the grease and brings out the flavours.

3:18 PM GMT+8  
Blogger miu miu said...

It looks delicious. May I try this next time? :P

11:11 PM GMT+8  
Blogger kEV said...

Sure! This one is easy.

1:33 PM GMT+8  

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