I grew up with them and adore them.
However, I married to a guy who grew up in the valley of Rocky mountain, and whose memory of good seafood as child was one of those frozen fish sticks which he seldom got. I think he freaked out when he saw me eating the tiny whole anchovies (including head and tail) when we were dating. No wonder he hesitated kissing me at the beginning of our relationship…, LOL!!!
Well, seafood is not his thing. Therefore I don’t get to cook that often, especially the whole fish.
But I saw some fresh red snappers at the store and I knew I had to make something with it. I am making Broiled Red Snapper with Korean Chili Sauce (Domi Goowi, 양념 도미구이).
It doesn’t visually bother me to see the whole grilled fish but I believe it does to some. You can ask your fish man to chop off the head for you but I’ll tell you this. There are lots of flesh around the head and you will loose some if you chop it off. And the taste of the part is excellent. No wonder why a few SE Asian cuisines have a dish called fish head curry.
Grilling is the best method to bring the full flavor of this firm white meat fish but broiling does a nice job as well.
If the red snapper is not available, you can use yellow snapper, flounder, grouper, or any white flaky meat fish. And if the whole fish is not there for you, use fillet with skin attached.
Fishes are such a great source of lean protein with low calories and omega-3 fatty acids. I hope you can give this Korean style broiled red snapper a shot at home. It is easy and quick to fix once your fish is thoroughly cleaned. And very delicious to the taste with a bowl of rice.
One way to check if your fish is fresh is by checking at his eyes. If they are translucent and clear, that a good sign. Dull eyed fish? Pass on. Dull eyed man? Think twice.
Second to check is its gill behind the flap of its head. It should be rich in red.
Third, smell it. Fresh fish shouldn’t smell stinky.
My fish guy at the market was always kind to me. He did an excellent job removing scales from my snapper but I still find a few places that he missed. Chances are you might have to scrape off some scales with your hands as well. It is fun, though.
Cut off all the fins here, there, and everywhere.
And don’t forget the tail…
Give it a good rinse inside out.
Give about 2-3 deep slits on each side.
…and let him rest while you are preparing the sauce to go with. (You can prepare up to this point in advance and keep the fish in the fridge until ready to cook)
Heat up your broiler.
For the sauce, you will need: Korean chili paste, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, green onion, garlic, and Korean plum extract which is an optional. If you don’t have it, add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice instead.
Put everything in a small mixing bowl…, then as always, I remembered that I left out someone very important.
Miss ginger! You will need her in the sauce. Add in the grated ginger to the bowl and mix everything together.
Here is the yummy-yummy sauce.
This is an optional step.
I often keep my fruit rinds(apple, lemon, lime, orange, etc) in the freezer for this purpose. They can cut the fish odor while it is baking in the oven. They also help the fish meat to stay moist.
Anyway, line your pan with foil for easy clean up and place rack over it. You will need to spray the rack with oil so that your fish won’t stick. Pour about 1/4 cup of water to the pan as well.
Put this guy in the broiler about 4 inch below the heat source, and cook about 8 minutes on each side, or until you see it turning brown.
My perfectly broiled red snapper is ready to take the sauce.
This was my lunch. And I did enjoy it.
1000 times better than frozen fish sticks. Although I do sometimes crave those.
Are you a fish lover as well? How do you like to cook? Kinda curios…
- Cut off the fins and tail from the snapper, and give 2-3 deep slits on each side. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and set aside. (You can keep the fish in the fridge if not cooking within 30 minutes)
- Preheat the oven to broiler setting.
- Line a broiler-safe pan with foil and place a rack on top. Spray the rack with oil. Place the red snapper on top and pour 1/4-1/2 cup of water in the pan. Place the pan in the oven so that the fish will sit about 4" below the heat source. Broil 8-10 minutes on one side. Flip the fish to the other side and continue to broil until it gets deep brown and the meat looks flaky, about 7-8 more minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl combine chili paste, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger, plum extract (or lemon juice), sesame oil, sesame seeds, and green onion. Mix well.
- When fish is done, spread the chili mixture sauce over the fish and serve warm with rice.