With Chinese New Years only two days away, celebrate by eating the whole fish.
The Chinese are a superstitious group of people with lots of time spent building wonderful and sometimes strange traditions around these superstitions. The traditions that exist around New Years are far too many to count and my family didn’t really follow most of them. But we definitely always had a whole fish to eat. It is believed that eating fish with the head and tail on will bring your family a prosperous year from start to finish. Oftentimes tradition brings out the cynic in me, but here I am all for it if it means delicious food.
This recipe is my take on a fish dish that my mom would make often. It is quite simple to make but packs a real punch. I never ever play around when it comes to chiles and Sichuan peppercorn. I am using barramundi here, a wonderfully delicious AND sustainable fish that I was recently introduced to. With the world’s delicate waters being overfished, it is very important that we buy and eat smarter. This fish actually eats very low on the food chain and barramundi can even live off of a mostly vegetarian diet. This means that it doesn’t require as many little fish to sustain itself and leaves more fish in the oceans to support wild populations. In addition to being sustainable, this fish is also extremely high in omega-3s and even rivals the amounts found in salmon. You can read more about it here on Australis Barramundi’s website. I was able to get mine from the fish market in NYC’s Chinatown. I even gutted and scaled it myself! If you get the chance to cook with this fish, definitely give it a try.
Fish scales looking so pretty!
I wrote a little piece on what Chinese New Years means to me. It’s over on FOOD52 along with the full recipe for this fish!
B R A I S E D B A R R A M U N D I I N B R O A D B E A N C H I L E S A U C E
for quick pickled chiles and ginger
3/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
3/4 cup red Thai chiles
1 1/2 cup young ginger, cut up into thick hunks