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Steamed Whole Red Snapper with Asian Flavors
4 Main-Course Servings

2 16- to 18-ounce whole red snappers, cleaned, scaled
16 very thin slices peeled fresh ginger plus 2 tablespoons chopped
16 very thin slices peeled garlic plus 2 tablespoons chopped
16 large fresh cilantro leaves plus 3 tablespoons chopped
3 tablespoons chopped shallots
3 tablespoons chopped lemongrass
3 tablespoons chopped green onions
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons oriental sesame oil
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Cooked long-grain white rice

Sprinkle inside of each fish with salt. Using sharp cleaver or
knife, make 4 diagonal slits on 1 side of each fish, spacing equally
and cutting to the bone. Insert 1 slice of ginger, 1 slice of
garlic and 1 cilantro leaf into each slit. Turn fish over. Make
4 diagonal slits on second side of each fish and insert remaining
sliced ginger, sliced garlic and cilantro leaves. Arrange fish in
9-inch-diameter glass pie dish.

Pour enough water into wok or large pot to reach
depth of 1 1/2 inches. Place bottom of 11- to 12-inch-diameter
bamboo steamer over water in wok or open a steamer rack and place
in pot. Place dish with fish in bamboo steamer (or on steamer rack).
Curl tails if necessary to fit. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon each of
chopped cilantro, shallots, lemongrass and green onions into dish
around fish. Combine broth and 1 tablespoon soy sauce in cup and
pour into dish. Bring water to boil. Cover bamboo steamer (or pot).
Steam fish until just opaque in center at bone, about 18 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine sesame oil and vegetable oil in heavy medium
skillet. Add chopped ginger and chopped garlic, then 2 tablespoons
each of chopped cilantro, shallots, lemongrass and green onions.
Stir over medium heat until oil is hot and seasonings are fragrant,
about 3 minutes. Pour seasoned oil into small bowl; add remaining
2 tablespoons soy sauce. Using oven mitts as aid, transfer dish
with fish to work surface. Using large spatula, transfer fish to
platter. Spoon juices from dish over fish. Spoon some of seasoned
oil over fish. Serve fish with rice; pass remaining seasoned oil.


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