Whole Fried Snapper with Prune XO Sauce
Chef Mikel Anthony
XO sauce is a condiment developed in Hong Kong and typically used in Cantonese dishes to deepen the umami characteristics. The ingredients often include dried scallops, dried shrimp and ham cooked with chili peppers, onions, garlic and sugar. Chef Mikel Anthony of Savoie in San Diego substitutes prunes for the sugar for additional depth and serves the sauce on fried red snapper.
6 to 8 oz. dried scallops
6 to 8 oz. dried shrimp
4 to 6 oz. prosciutto
½ lb. prunes
8 to 10 garlic cloves
6 to 10 Thai chilies
½ cup soy sauce
1 cup vegetable oil, divided
1 whole red snapper
Steamed white rice
Thai basil leaves
1. For XO sauce, place dried scallops and shrimp in separate containers; add boiling water just to cover. When softened, drain liquid and reserve; chop or grind scallops and shrimp in a mortar and pestle. Slice prosciutto into equal-size pieces. Set everything aside.
2. Thinly slice prunes and shallots. Mince garlic and chilies. Heat ½ cup oil in deep skillet; add garlic, chilies and shallots and saute 2 minutes. Add scallops, shrimp, prosciutto and prunes; saute 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Stir in reserved liquid from soaking shrimp and scallops; adding more oil if ingredients aren’t covered. Reduce heat to low and simmer mixture 45 minutes to hour, or until liquid reduces and sauce thickens. (Sauce is meant to be oily; it resembles a chunky chile oil.)
4. For snapper, heat oil in deep fryer to 350 F. Score fish by slicing into skin at an angle. Season surface of fish with salt and dredge in tapioca starch. Fry fish in hot oil until golden brown and cooked through.
5. To serve, nap fish with XO sauce and plate with rice. Garnish with Thai basil leaves.
Photo courtesy of California Prune Board