Sunday, July 6, 2008
In the end, we didn't cook the baby. But we cooked the crap out of those fish heads.
Last night's dinner was a big pot of Tom Yum Gung, a spicy Thai soup. We didn't have every single ingredient so we improvised, starting with the homemade fish stock.
Bring a pot of water to a boil then throw in the fish heads (cleaned, with gills removed), some dry vermouth, a chopped onion and salt. Turn the heat down to a simmer and leave uncovered. Every now and then check to see if any foam has collected on top and skim it off. After about an hour, strain the stock and you're done. Sorry little salmon head.
For the soup, my advice is to throw in as many ingredients as you can find in your local market. We threw in all the following at once: sliced ginger, chopped garlic, dried shitake mushrooms, chopped scallops, fish sauce (not too much, just to taste), red chilies, lemongrass. The trick for cooking with lemongrass is not to try to slice it first but to bludgeon it and then slice it. That softens up an otherwise very hard vegetable. Watch your fingers.
The shrimp, in their shells, went in last. They're done as soon as they turn pink.
Ladle the soup into individual bowls than finish each one with chopped scallions, chopped cilantro and a few heavy squirts of fresh lime juice. If you're lucky, it'll look as good as ours did: