Whole fish is simply the best way to honour this gift from the sea. You don’t waste a morsel and it’s moister, juicier and all round yummier. Recently I had the pleasure of eating whole fried fish cooked by a Hong Kong fish farmer. He swears that marinating the fish in oil for 30 minutes at room temperature before cooking it makes the fish even more tender. Don’t be afraid of using EVOO to fry food in. It’s the healthiest choice and everything tastes more delicious fried in it, so add another slug or two to the pan if you feel like it!
You’ll serve the fish with XO sauce, a Cantonese condiment made of fermented shrimp and scallops. It’s salty and filled with umami and a little goes a long way. So, no need for salt or pepper here. And finally, you must finish the dish with the crunch of pickled red onion and fresh spring onions.
Don’t throw away the fish carcasses after the feasting is done, just fill the pan with hot water and simmer for half an hour, strain and you’ll be left with a VERY tasty fish stock to create your next culinary adventure with.
2 kgs whole white fish, gutted and scaled
6 T Allpress EVOO
Plus 3 T EVOO
6 T XO sauce
2 T soy sauce
2 red onions sliced thinly
Juice of one large lemon
Spring onions, sliced finely
Dry the fish with a paper towel then rub inside and out with the 6 T Allpress EVOO. Leave for 30 minutes to come to room temperature.
In a small bowl Combine XO sauce with soy and in another small bowl mix the red onion with lemon juice and set aside to pickle.
Heat the Ironclad Grande Pan to hot but not smoking and add 3 T oil to the pan.
Lower the fish gently into the pan and fry for 1 minute then lower temperature to medium. Fry for another 3 minutes until golden brown then carefully flip each fish using a fish slice and tongs. Cook another 3 – 4 minutes on the other side. Check to see that fish is cooked by inserting a knife into the flesh at the thickest part of the fish. It should be flaky and white, not opaque and still attached to the bones.
Spoon the XO sauce on top of the fish, followed by pickled red onion and spring onions.
Serve hot and sizzling to the table and serve with steamed rice.