The Thai-inspired flavors of this dish are far more complex than the work it took to create this flavorful and satisfying meal. This is one of those amazing dishes that you can literally throw together without doing much thinking. The hardest part of making this dish is securing the ingredients—all of which I found at my neighborhood market. I did have to get some assistance in the produce department because I did not remember what a stalk of lemongrass looks like!
I’m not kidding when I say this dish is easy. And versatile. And delicious. Let me give you a hint as to how easy it is: I started making it after midnight, after being at a party where we played “Black Card Revoked” and had to take shots of whiskey for missed answers. And everything turned out great! (And if you don’t believe me, you should follow me on SnapChat: ValleryDi, where you will see the timestamps for my cooking and baking adventures!)
This dish is also versatile. You don’t even really need the red snapper. After I finished the broth, I started drinking it by the spoonful, and I couldn’t stop. I recommend you do the same. Ladle some into a soup bowl as soon as it’s done to relish in the fruits of your labor! I didn’t even have to season it. The fennel, lemongrass, and clams did all of the work for me. This recipe makes quite a bit of broth. You can also put some boiled potatoes and crab in the leftover broth for an impromptu Thai-Coconut Clam Chowder. I did it, and it was delicious. Chicken would also work beautifully in this broth. You can even cook the chicken in the broth. When I make it again, I’ll take some notes so that I share that recipe with you as well.
- FOR BROTH
- 1 tablespoon oil (Coconut oil is best if you have that on hand)
- 1 onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and coarsely chopped
- 1 lemongrass stalk, smashed and coarsely chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 cherrystone or other large hard-shell clams, scrubbed
- 1 cup Chardonnay (Chardonnay goes perfectly with seafood)
- 1 can unsweetened coconut milk (13.5 ounces)
- FOR FISH
- 4 5-ounce red snapper fillets
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, lightly crushed
- 2 tablespoons oil
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves
- 2 teaspoons toasted unsweetened shredded coconut
- FOR BROTH
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, fennel, lemongrass, and bay leaves. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, 8–10 minutes.
- Add clams and wine and increase heat to medium-high. Cover and cook until clams open, 12–15 minutes. Add coconut milk and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.
- Strain stock through a strainer into a large bowl. Discard solids. Adjust seasoning if needed (mine was salty enough due to the clams!)
- FOR FISH
- Heat stock in a medium pot over low; keep warm.
- Meanwhile, sprinkle fish on both sides with salt. Top skin side with fennel seeds, patting lightly to adhere.
- Heat coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Working in 2 batches, cook fish, skin side down, until skin is crisp, 6–8 minutes. Turn and cook on other side 30 seconds.
- Divide stock among shallow bowls. Add a fish fillet to each, placing skin side up, and top with cilantro and coconut. Serve immediately.
This recipe is adapted from Bon Appetit.