Fish Sauce


I learned a while ago that fish sauce is a great source of umami. You know umami, that great taste in lots of things like meat, mushrooms and broth, to name a few. Fish sauce is made from fish covered in salt and fermented for a long time, like years. I saw it in recipes from East Asia.

I thought I should try this and I added it to a number of things like fish and salad dressing and stir fry. Well, turns out, that if I added fish sauce to anything, Marlo loved it. This surprised me because you take a smell of the bottle and it smells like feet or worse! I think the trick is that you don’t add much, usually a teaspoon or two. Another trick is to use the brand Christopher Kimball of Milk Street recommends: Red Boat Fish Sauce. I find it online.

Lately, I have been adding it to oven roasted fish and we think it is delicious. When I get home from work, I turn the oven on convection roast at 450 degrees. I guess the convection part is just a little fan in the back so it probably doesn’t make that much difference, but anyway.

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Then I wrap a thawed fish fillet in paper towel to get rid of excess moisture so it will brown, rather that steam. I place the dried fillets on an oiled pan and here’s where the flavoring come in. I add these things: fish sauce, tasted sesame oil, and something sweet like pepper jelly or onion jelly, but lately I have been using honey drizzled over each fillet. I place the pan with the fillets in the oven on a middle rack and set the timer for 10 minutes. At 10 minutes I check the fish and it usually needs another 5 minutes. When in doubt, check the temperature, for fish it should be 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Here’s the recipe. Give it a try!

The fish sauce is also great in salad dressings, stir fry and fried rice. It is amazing how a little fish sauce adds flavor, but I can’t tell it’s fish. I get my fish sauce at the regular grocery store but they have so many kinds at the Asian Market that I should try some of those. My sister, Connie, my editor, uses anchovy salt to add flavor. That could be an entirely different adventure!

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Thanks for reading this. It’s always good to hear from you.

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