Red Snapper Soup with Fresh Bean Sprouts and Garlic Oil
- ACTIVE: 45 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 2 HR
- SERVINGS: 6 to 8
Charles Phan recalls eating numerous versions of this slightly sweet and pleasantly tangy fish soup while growing up in Vietnam. Some included only chopped tomato while others were made with a colorful mix of vegetables. Here, he adds freshly squeezed lime juice for a hit of sourness instead of the more traditional tamarind pulp. He adds bean sprouts to the soup for a refreshing crunch.
- 3 quarts cold water
- Two 2-pound red snappers, filleted and skinned, heads and bones reserved
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
- 2 stalks of lemongrass, cut into 5-inch lengths and lightly crushed
- One 1 1/4-inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
- 1 small onion, quartered
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 pound white mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 6 ounces mung bean sprouts
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- Thinly sliced serrano chiles and lime wedges, for serving
- Pour the water into a large stockpot. Add the fish heads and bones, 3 tablespoons of the fish sauce and the lemongrass, ginger, onion and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, cut the snapper fillets into 1 1/2-inch pieces and transfer to a medium bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil, the remaining 2 tablespoons of fish sauce and toss. Refrigerate the fish for 1 hour.
- Heat the remaining 6 tablespoons of oil in a small skillet. Add the garlic and cook over high heat, stirring, until fragrant and lightly golden, about 30 seconds. Pour the garlic oil into a bowl and let cool.
- Strain the soup through a fine sieve, pressing hard on the solids. Wipe out the pot. Return the fish soup to it and bring to a boil. Add the mushrooms and simmer over moderate heat until just tender, about 1 minute. Add the marinated snapper and cook just until opaque, about 2 minutes. Season the soup with salt. Add the bean sprouts and scallions and stir in the garlic oil. Serve right away with sliced chiles and lime wedges.