This is another of those recipe finds that make all that shredding and tearing up of food magazines worthwhile. In fact, I tore this one out about two years ago on one of my futile magazine recycling binges, where I swear I'm going to whittle down that pile of saved Gourmet's, Bon App's, Saveur's, etc, tear out the recipes that look good and file them away under the proper heading (dinner/dessert/soup/blah-blah-blah). Unfortunately all I end up with is another over-stuffed file folder with this mish-mash of unorganized recipes from various sources, and within a few months another pile of neglected food magazines.
But every now and then I actually do look through the folder, and find something that reminds me why I go through this exercise in seeming futility. The other night I pulled out this oldie from the September '04 Bon Appetit. w and I always love whole fish when we go out (the fried fish at Malay Satay Hut here in PDX with what is basically a Thai fruit salad on top kills!), but I rarely make it at home. Yet almost every time I do it turns out pretty freaking good and reminds me to quit being such a whole fish slacker, especially when we have ABC Seafood so close to our house. ABC is a wholesale/retail Asian market that supplies a lot of other markets (like Uwajimaya) and the savvier restaurants around town. Their prices are amazing, and it is also the best place around to get whole live Dungeness crab for home cookin'. Anyway, that's the back story. The main point is this was really delicious...spicy, savory, really complex and rich yet not heavy. I subbed whole tilapia for the red snapper (cook about 5-8 minutes longer if you go this route) since ABC was snapper-less and it worked just fine. This is one of those really fun, interesting dishes that I used to dream of making but never thought I would (or could). Now I smugly have it in my repertoire, and can't wait to show it off again!
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Red Snapper Baked in Indian-Spiced Yogurt
From Bon Appetit
2 cups (lightly packed) coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups (lightly packed) fresh mint-leaves
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
4 jalapeno chiles, seeded, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 cups plain nonfat yogurt
2 cups sour cream
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 2-pound whole red snappers, scaled, gutted, or one 4-pound side of salmon
1-Using on/off turns, puree cilantro, mint, lime juice, jalapenos, garlic, and ginger in processor. Transfer to large bowl. Stir in yogurt, sour cream, cumin, chili powder, sugar, and salt.
Ready to stir cilantro puree into yogurt mixture
Putting yogurt "schmear" on fish to marinate
2-Cut 3 diagonal slits (in picture at top of post) through skin down to bone on each side of both whole fish (do not cut salmon if using). Pour half of marinade into 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish. Place fish in dish. Pour remaining marinade over fish to cover. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour.
Properly marinated and ready to pop into oven
3-Preheat oven to 450 F. Transfer fish to large rimmed baking sheet (do not scrape off marinade). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake fish until flesh is just opaque in center, about 25 minutes for salmon and 30 minutes for snapper. Using 2 large metal spatulas, carefully transfer fish to large platter and serve.