Liberia is a country in West Africa, whose name means “Land of the Free” in Latin. Its national flower is the pepper flower. The president of this country, who won the Nobel Peace Prize, has praised the beauty of this small, white, star-shaped flower; she said that it has the ability to purify the soul of everyone who faces it. From these flowers, bunches of peppercorns come into existence and bring about an extremely special scent: slightly tangy and spicy. This scent adheres to every dish that contains this ingredient. Chef Nguyen Van Bong said that using the fresh green peppercorns to cook is very different from using the dried ones; he also noticed that it would create a more elegant scent if these peppercorns are smashed before cooking. He used sturgeon to create the Sturgeon with Green Peppercorn Sauce, but actually, any kind of fish may suit this dish if you are careful and strictly follow the process of making the green peppercorn sauce.
STURGEON WITH GREEN PEPPERCORN SAUCEPrint This
- 1 sturgeon, about 1.6kg
- 30g green peppercorns
- 15ml rice wine
- 100g potatoes
- 50g shallots
- 100g onions
- 10g ginger
- 10g garlic
- 4g salt
- 500ml water
- 30ml cooking oil
- 20g red cayenne pepper
- 15g green onion with bulbs
- 10g alum
- 20g coarse salt
Preparation: In a big washtub, add warm water, 10g alum and 20g coarse salt and put the fish in, scrape it from head to tail to remove the sliminess. Clean the fish again under running tap water then pat it dry. Use a sharp knife to cut away the fillets from both sides of the fish, about 800g. In a pot, slightly poach the fish bones and head with boiling water, 15ml rice wine and 10g ginger to remove the fishy odor, then take them out and wash them thoroughly. Peel and quarter the onions. Peel the shallots; mince 10g shallots and smash the remaining 40g. Peel and finely mince the garlic. Wash the green peppercorns and smash 20g with a knife blade and set aside the remaining 10g. Peel and finely chop the potatoes. Deseed and cut the cayenne pepper into short shoestrings. Cut the green onion bulbs into shoestrings.
Make the sauce: Cook the poached bones with 500ml water, 100g onions, 40g smashed shallots, potatoes and 10g green peppercorns for 30 minutes. Strain the bone broth through a sieve. In a food processor, blend the broth, the potatoes, onions and peppercorns thoroughly. Bring that sauce to a boil again, then add 2g salt to taste.
Fry the fish: Divide the sturgeon fillet into 4 portions, marinate them with 2g salt, 20g smashed green peppercorns, 10g minced garlic, 10g minced shallots; toss to mix well and leave them to marinate for 10 minutes. Put a frying pan on the stove, add 30ml cooking oil, when the oil is heated through, add the fish fillets and sauté them until both sides are caramelized.
Put a fillet on a serving plate, sprinkle the shoestring green onions and cayenne peppers on it, then spoon over the hot sauce and serve immediately.
The fish should have the green pepper scent without having the fishy odor; the fish meat should be fresh and have the spicy taste of the green pepper.
The sauce should be greasy, fragrant, and sweet and have a natural gelatinous texture of the potatoes.
Choose a fresh and alive fish so that the fish flesh will be firmer, chewier and more fragrant; fry the fish immediately before serving.
EFFECTS OF THIS DISH
This dish is very useful for people with asthenia body syndrome, diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood fat, loss of appetite, and indigestion
NGUYEN VAN BONG Kaya Hotel (Phu Yen Province) Runner-up in the Southern Regional semi-final round of the Golden Spoon Awards 2013