Thai-barbecued Lacquered Wahoo Over a Lemongrass-Ginger Broth on Udon Noodles
Eastern ingredients flavor a popular West Indies fish: the wahoo is a firm-fleshed fish eaten throughout the Caribbean islands. Salmon is a good mainland substitute. Thai barbecue sauce glazes the squares of fish, which are served over firm udon noodles in a fresh broth scented with lemongrass and ginger.
- Thai Barbecue Sauce
- Thai chili sauce - 1 cup
- Thai peppers - 2
- Ketchup - 1/4 cup
- Mint sprig - 1, stemmed and finely chopped
- Togarashi - 1 teaspoon
- Thai basil leaves - 2
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Safflower Oil - 2 tablespoons
- Wahoo - 1-1/2 pounds, cut into four 2-inch-thick blocks (alt. salmon)
- Kosher salt for sprinkling
- Unsalted Butter - 1/4 cup (1/2 stick)
- Parsley Sprigs - 1, stemmed and minced
- Basil leaves - 2, minced
- Dry white wine - 1/2 cup
- Water - 1/4 cup
- Lemongrass-Ginger Broth
- Water - 4 cups (1 quart)
- Hon Dashi - 1 teaspoon, or other bonito-type soup stock
- Lemongrass stalks - 6
- Gingerroot - 1
- Udon noodles - 8 ounces
- Red Bell Pepper - 1, seeded, deribbed, and cut into very thin lengthwise slivers
- Yellow Bell Pepper - 1, seeded, deribbed, and cut into very thin lengthwise slivers
- Carrot - 1 medium, pared and shaved into very thin slivers
- Shiitake caps - 1 cup, cut into very thin slivers
- Scallions - 2, cut on the bias
- Whole Chives - 3
To make the broth: In a large pot over medium-high heat, bring the water to a boil. Add the hon dashi and reduce heat to medium-low. Smash the lemongrass and gingerroot with a mallet or other heavy flat object. Add to the hon dashi mixture and simmer 15 - 20 minutes.
To make the barbecue sauce: Strain the chili sauce into a non-reactive bowl through a fine-meshed sieve to remove the seeds. Seed the pepper and puree; strain the juice through a fine-meshed sieve into the chili sauce. Stir in the ketchup, mint, togarashi, basil, and salt and pepper.
To prepare the fish: Preheat the oven to 425 F. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper and sear on each side for 30 seconds to seal. Pour off the grease and add the butter and herbs to the pan. Deglaze with white wine, return the pan to the heat, and add the water. Stir gently and let the mixture bubble up. Remove from heat, paint the fish with Thai Barbecue Sauce, and put in the oven for 4 minutes. Remove from oven, paint with another layer of barbecue sauce, and put back in the oven for 2 - 4 minutes, until just cooked through. Heat the broiler to highest setting. Remove from oven and paint with barbecue sauce. Place under the broiler for 30 seconds, until glazed but not blackened.
To make the noodles: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop the noodles into the water and boil for 4 - 5 minutes, until al dente. Drain in a colander.
To serve: Arrange pieces of bell pepper, carrot, shiitake, and scallions in the bottom of a shallow soup bowl. With tongs, lift about 1/2 cup of noodles and place them in the center of the bowl, twisting with the tongs before releasing the noodles to mound them. Place a piece of fish on the noodles. Repeat with remaining bowls. Ladle the broth over the fish and vegetables, dividing it between the bowls; do not stir up the bits from the bottom of the broth pot, so that you are using clear broth. Garnish each bowl with 3 whole chives.