What took so long?

Cá Nướng Cuốn Bánh Tráng (Grilled Whole Catfish)

Cá Nướng Cuốn Bánh Tráng (Vietnamese Grilled Salmon)

2010: The year I always forget.

2010: The year we moved back to Southern California because Michigan is too.friggin.cold.

2010: The year I really proclaimed myself a Foodie.

So what took me so long to write this post? As with most things, I have a Type A /slight obsessive/compulsive mentality where if it’s not perfect, I won’t even attempt it. And every time I begin to think about it, I cringe. “Is my blog going to be like every other food blog out there?”, “Are they going to understand my tone? my voice? my excitement? my dismay? Will they get me?”

Cá Nướng Close up

Cá Nướng Close up

Who cares, perfect I am not. But in my 3rd decade, its time to start compiling my life’s adventures. My passion, whatever they were in my teens, my twenties, now thirties, be it today, tomorrow or just for that hour. Some of you like it and **LIKE** my posts, so here goes the story of @mightyinthemitten!

Cá Nướng Cuốn Bánh Tráng (Grilled Fish on fresh Rice Paper)

Cá Nướng Cuốn Bánh Tráng (Grilled Fish on fresh Rice Paper)

I’ve learned to trust my gut as an ER Nurse–a skill I learned when after 100 patients tell you what their complaint is doesn’t match with what they LOOK like. Um, 10/10 pain but you’re chatting on your cell phone laughing at Bruce Jenner’s Caitlyn Jenner’s hairdo? Yeah, no. Doing the kidney stone dance when you’ve never had a kidney stone but claiming your pain is 5/10 because you’re too stoic to admit you’re about to keel over and die? Yeah, ok.

So last week my gut told me “My Thy, you haven’t had fish in a while. And you’re not taking your fish oil for those omega-3’s (we tout is so good for us).” So I made Cá Nướng Cuốn Bánh Tráng which is Vietnamese for Grilled Fish wrapped in fresh rice paper. Typically you want to use catfish but cleaning and scaling that bad boy is too much work when Costco has Fresh Wild Sockeye Salmon with no added FD&C Red No. 40. This recipe comes together with a little bit of chopping and dicing, slathering and roasting that you wished you had eaten more fish. Wait, you can now!

Salmon wrapped in herbs ready for the fish sauce dunking

Salmon wrapped in herbs ready for the fish sauce dunking

Recipe Notes: Vietnamese herbs are found at most of your ethnic restaurants and knowing their names and which ones go with what dish is an art. I didn’t just know that Fish Mint, Cilantro, Mint, and Vietnamese Perilla accompany Romaine/Butter lettuce in the spring roll. It was years of eating Vietnamese dishes and learning there’s a set of herbs that go with set dish. If you can’t find these herbs, at least buy mint and cilantro because it adds the ‘fresh’ in fresh spring rolls. The scallion oil is not to be missed. It’s the universal Vietnamese condiment, along with fish sauce of course. And yes, the recipe is called “grilled” but it’s actually roasted in the oven but you sure can grill it!

Cá Nướng Cuốn Bánh Tráng (VIetnamese Grilled Salmon)

Serves 4-6 depending how big you roll your spring rolls. My dad likes burrito size. Mom not so much.

Ingredients:

2-3 lb Wild caught Salmon

Marinade: 

1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup honey
2 TBS olive oil
2 tsp of fresh ground pepper
2 TBS ginger
2 TBS garlic
2 TBS shallots
2 TBS minced lemongrass
Additional 1/4 cup honey for lathering the fish

Toppings: 

1/4 cup Crushed salted roasted peanuts Scallion Oil

Mo Hanh Scallion Oil: 

3-4 TBS olive oil
1 bunch chopped green onion
pinch salt

Accompaniments:

Rice Paper
Vermicelli Noodles
Fresh herbs: Mint, Fish Mint, cilantro, Perilla
Sliced thin cucumbers, pickled carrots & daikon (do chua)
Nuoc Mam Fish Sauce for dipping
Directions: 
  1. Rinse salmon and blot dry with paper towel. Set aside on foil lined half baking sheet.
  2. Combine marinade ingredients and mix well. You may or may not have extra depending how generous you are with the marinade and how big your fish is.
  3. Lather 1/4 cup of honey onto salmon and let sit for 10 mins. Then slather marinade all over salmon making sure it’s covered completely but not drowning in marinade.
  4. Cover and marinade 1 hr minimum to 4 hrs.
  5. For the Mo Hanh Scallion oil: heat oil in sauce pan on medium heat. Drop a few chopped scallions in oil. It should sizzle and stop. We’re infusing the oil not frying the scallions. If it sizzles, add all the chopped scallions and stir for ~30 seconds and remove from heat. Add pinch of salt. Set aside.
  6. After marinading and before roasting, allow fish to come to room temp (or at least close to it.) As long as your fish isn’t drowning in marinade, use the same half baking sheet. If not, foil-line a half baking sheet and transfer salmon to new sheet. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  7. Bake salmon for 10 -15min or until the fish is just cooked but still a little pink in the center.
  8. Transfer fish to serving platter or serve straight off the half baking sheet.
  9. Top generously with Mo Hanh Scallion Oil and crushed roasted salted peanuts. Traditionally, this dish is served family style in rice paper roll with fresh herbs and dipped in Nuoc Mam Fish Sauce.

Cooks Note: I was out of Vermicelli but typically Vietnamese Spring rolls must include this.