Last night, I decided to venture back into the seafood section of my local Chinese grocery store. I've been intimidated by it before. There are no numbers or any order whatsoever to determine who is next to be served. You just have to push to the front and get the attention of someone. Some of the Chinese grandmothers even start grabbing fish that are laid out on the ice and throwing them into bags to hand to the guys to clean. I've been so frustrated in the past that I've left the counter and decided to get something else for dinner instead. Luckily, it wasn't too crowded yesterday, and I didn't have to elbow a grandma to get my fish.
Pan-Fried Whole Tilapia with Garlic-Ginger Sauce
adapted from Mark Bittman's "Crispy Sea Bass or Other Small Whole Fish with Garlic-Ginger Suace" in How to Cook Everything
1 whole tilapia or similar fish, about 1.5 pounds, gilled, gutted, and scaled with head on
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add vegetable oil to a depth of 1/4 for an inch and heat for 3 or 4 minutes.
2. Pat fish dry. Put fish in oil and cook undisturbed for about 8 minutes on first side. Turn carefully with two spatulas.
3. While fish is cooking, heat two tablespoons of oil over medium heat in a small saucepan. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until garlic begins to color. Keep warm.
4. Cook fish on second side for 8 to 10 minutes or until flesh offers little resistance to knife or chopstick.
5. Remove fish to a plate. Drizzle with garlic ginger sauce, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Serve immediately.