Chinese fish salad … lettuce, noodles, condiments Essay

Chinese fish salad . . . lettuce, noodles, condiments An unusual blending of crisp textures and sweet-tart flavors givesthis adaptation of a Chinese fish salad its appeal.

It’s made withvery fresh fish marinated in lemon juice to gently “cook’ itmuch like Mexican ceviche. The fish is combined with crisp noodles,shredded lettuce, and lively condiments to make a refreshing lightentree. Several ingredients that give this salad its intriguing flavor canbe found in Asian markets or some well-stocked supermarkets. Dry beanthread noodles (they look like fishing line) puff when dropped in hotoil, adding a delightful crisp texture.

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Pickled ginger, sold in thinslices or slivers and sometimes colored red, contributes a zesty flavoraccent. Chinese Fish Salad 1 pound boned and skinned lean mild fish fillets such as rockfish or sole 1/4 cup lemon juice Salad oil 2 ounces dry bean thread noodles 3 tablespoons sesame seed 10 cups (about 1 1/2 lb.) shredded iceberg lettuce 1/2 cup thinly slivered green onions 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves 1/2 cup pickled shallots, cut into thin slivers (optional) 1/4 cup pickled ginger, cut into thin slivers Lemon-honey dressing (recipe follows) Rinse fish fillets; pat dry. Cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thickslices. Place in a small bowl and mix with lemon juice.

Cover andchill, stirring occasionally, until fish is opaque throughout, at least2 hours or up to 12 hours. Meanwhile, in a 3- to 4-quart pan, heat about 1 inch salad oil to375|. Tear bean threads apart into 4 to 6 small handfuls. Add ahandful of dry noodles to oil, pushing them into the oil and tuninguntil they are all puffy and crisp, about 30 seconds. Lift out with awire strainer or slotted spoon. Drain noodles on paper towels. Repeatuntil all are fried.

Cool. (If made ahead, store airtight up to 2days.) In a 6- to 8-inch frying pan, cook sesame seed over low heat,stirring oftern until seeds are toasted, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool. (Ifmade ahead, store airtight at room temperature up to 2 days.) When fish is opaque, drain off juice and reserve for dressing.

Place lettuce in a wide shallow bowl or platter. Top with fish, greenonions, cilantro, shallots, ginger, sesame seed, and fried noodles.Pour the lemon-honey dressing over salad and mix.

Serve at once.Serves 6 to 8. Lemon–honey dressing. Mix lemon juice reserved from marinatedfish, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons salad oil, 2 to 3tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon sesame oilor salad oil, 3/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel, and 1 clove garlic,pressed or minced. Photo: Fish fillets are basis of this salad.

To serve, assemblefried noodles, fish, and other condiments on a bed of shredded lettuce,drizzle with tangy dressing, and mix

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