Large masses of water provide luxurious ingredients. Centuries of fishing has provided us with meals of wonderful seafood and glorious sauces. Dover Sole Meuniere, Tuna Nicoise, Caribbean Jerk Fish, Roasted Whole Pompano, Japanese...well you get the idea. We could go on forever with amazing recipes. In South Louisiana, Speckled Trout Almandine and Blackened Redfish grace numerous restaurant menus throughout the area; however, we will travel to the capital of Vietnam where a certain dish has become a staple after a restaurant, Cha Ca La Vong, created it.
Dill is a regional herb used in Northern Vietnam and predominantly in dishes with fish (including soup). We are going to use striped bass, but any nice firm white fish can be used. Also, think of dill as a extra vegetable instead of an herb--use the entire piece and cut the green onions into long batons. The pineapple fish sauce calls for a grey, thicker version than nuoc mam.
Today's cooking was aided by the Canadian trio Rush! Congratulations on their recent and long overdue induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Hanoi fish and mid-80s Rush make for a wonderful afternoon. Power Windows, Hold Your Fire, and Presto close out the decade, and while vastly underrated by many fans, I thoroughly enjoy the change in style. Marathon, Manhattan Project, Force Ten, and Chain Lightning are all stellar pieces. Enjoy today's fish, and a wonderful cold beverage recipe is found at the end!
Cha Ca Thang Long- Hanoi Style Fish with Pinepple Fish Sauce
2 lbs. Fish- Cod, Halibut, White Fish
1 lb. dry vermicelli-*
1 cup canola oil
1/4 cup fish sauce-*
1 tsp turmeric-*
1 bunch dill
1 bunch green onions
Pineapple Fish Sauce
¼ cup fermented fish sauce (mam nem)-*
1 cup pineapple
2 cloves garlic
1 Thai chili-*
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp sugar
Combine the sauce ingredients in a blender and emulsify until smooth. The result will look like an odd gray paste and stink, but trust me, it is delicious. Cut the fish into nice chunks, about the size of a sugar packet. Mix the turmeric, fish sauce and oil together and toss with the fish. In a hot non-stick skillet, add the fish and all the marinade. When a nice brown coat forms, flip over each piece and cook through. This should only take a few minutes. Right before the fish is done, add all the dill and green onions and toss until lightly wilted.
Fill a bowl with the vermicelli and add the fish, peanuts and sprouts. Make sure to pour the pan sauce onto the bowl and serve with the fish sauce on the side adding some to the bowl as you go.
Beverage- The Presto (in honor of the Rush album)- 2 oz. Spiced Rum, 1/4 cup Diced Fresh Pineapple, 4 oz. Coconut Water (with pulp). Muddle pineapple, add rum and coconut water, stir to mix, enjoy!