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Braised Whole Red Snapper With Hot & Sour Sauce

fish, main dishes

3/4 cups fish broth
--chicken or vegetable broth
--or water
6 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 whole red snapper; gutted
--gilled and scaled
--about 2-21/2 pounds
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1/3 cup flour for dredging
1 large onion; sliced
salt; to taste
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
--or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper; (up to 1/2)
2 tablespoons sherry or white wine
1/4 cup rice vinegar; plus 1 tablespoon
--or white-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons minced scallions; for garnish

1. In a saucepan, heat broth or water until hot. Remove from the heat, add mushrooms and let soak for 15 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the broth; pull off and discard any tough stems. Slice the caps thinly. Line a strainer with paper towels and set it over a bowl: pour the broth through the strainer to remove any fine grit. Set the mushrooms and broth aside.

2. With kitchen shears, snip the fins off the fish. Check to make sure that the fish will fit in your largest nonstick skillet. If it does not, cut off the head and tail with a large knife. Rinse the fish and blot it dry with paper towels. On each side of the fish, cut 2 or 3 vertical gashes through the flesh down to the center bone.

3, Preheat the skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add oil; when a pinch of flour sizzles in it, dredge the fish in flour. Shake off the excess and gently place the fish in the pan. Cook until golden brown on the underside, 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully turn the fish over and cook until browned on the second side, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Remove the fish to a plate.

4. Return the pan to the stove over medium-high heat. Add onions, sprinkle with salt and cook, stirring, for 2 or 3 minutes. Add ginger, garlic and ground red pepper and cook, stirring, until the onions are soft and brown, about 3 more minutes. Add the reserved mushrooms, then stir in sherry or wine. Add 1/4 cup of the vinegar, soy sauce and the reserved mushroom liquid. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute.

5. Reduce the heat to low and return the fish to the pan. Cover and braise for 15 to 20 minutes. Check for doneness by peering into one of the slits; if the meat at the bone is opaque, the fish is done.

6. Transfer the fish to a platter. If the braising liquid is very thin, raise the heat to high and boil until slightly thickened. Stir in sesame oil and the remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar. Spoon the sauce and onions over and around the fish. Sprinkle with scallions. To serve, use a spoon to lift the flesh from the bone.

Makes 4 servings.

325 calories per serving: 37 grams protein. 11 grams fat (1.9 grams saturated fat). 81 grams carbohydrate; 380 mg sodium; 64 mg cholesterol; 1 gram fiber.

Busted by: Gail Shermeyer <>

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Contributor: Eating Well, October 1996

Yield: 4 servings

Preparation Time: 0:00

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