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Cool Recipe Alert: Cha ca-style snapper

Cha ca-style snapper, a boldly flavored Vietnamese fish recipe, begins with a marinade of Greek yogurt, citrus zest, turmeric, fish sauce and minced shallot, garlic, ginger and jalapeno. In this recipe from Chef Daniel Vercher with Guckenheimer at Twitter NYC Café, the flavors are seriously amped up.

Cha ca-style snapper (Vietnamese-style fish)

YIELD: 4 servings

For marinade:
1 cup whole-fat Greek yogurt
3 Tbsps. minced shallot
2 tsps. minced garlic
2 tsps. minced ginger
¼ cup minced jalapeno
2 tsps. finely grated lemon zest
3 Tbsps. fresh lemon juice
¼ cup roughly chopped fresh dill
3 Tbsps. canola oil
1 Tbsp. ground turmeric
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1 lb. snapper filets, skin removed and cut into 4 pieces

For nuoc mam sauce:
½ cup fish sauce
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup water
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. sambal
1 ½ tsps. minced fresh ginger
For pickled red onions:
¼ cup warm water
1 ½ Tbsp. brown sugar
1 star anise pod
½ cup rice wine vinegar
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
pinch of kosher salt

For service:
2 spring roll sheets
10 oz. thin rice noodles, cooked and cooled
1 ¼ cup nuoc mam
16 to 18 bibb lettuce leaves, torn
1 ½ cups shredded cabbage (1/4 head of cabbage)
¼ cup torn cilantro
½ cup torn dill sprigs
¼ cup green onion, thinly sliced into rounds (green parts only)
1/3 cup pickled red onions
1/3 cup crushed roasted peanuts
½ cup torn Thai basil leaves

1. For marinade: In medium bowl, whisk together all marinade ingredients until sugar dissolves. Cover and chill. Makes about 2 cups. (Marinade can be made up to two weeks ahead).

2. For nuoc mam sauce: In medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients until sugar dissolves. Cover and chill. Makes about 2 cups. (Sauce can be made up to two weeks ahead).

3. For pickled red onions: In small bowl, combine warm water, sugar and star anise, and stir to dissolve sugar. Add rice wine vinegar, sliced onions and salt. Let sit until onions turn pink and develop pickled flavor, about 1 hour.

4. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 400°F. Remove fish from marinade, leaving layer of marinade on filets, and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Discard leftover marinade. Bake until fish is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, crisp spring roll sheets. One sheet at a time, grill or microwave on high until sheets crisp and puff, 1 to 2 minute. Break into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

6. To assemble: Divide rice noodles among four bowls and lightly toss with some nuoc mam. Place lettuce leaves, cabbage, cilantro, dill and green onions into one large communal bowl, buffet or platter. To eat, place a piece of fish into each bowl and garnish with greens and herbs along with the pickled onions, peanuts, crispy spring roll sheets and additional nuoc mam.

Recipe: Chef Daniel Vercher, Twitter NYC Café/Guckenheimer

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