Have you cooked a whole damn fish yet? If not, you should. In addition to being pretty aesthetically impactful, a whole fish offers all sorts of tender, flavorful nooks of flesh that you can't really enjoy from a requisite filet.
When Angela Dimayuga of Mission Chinese Food visited our rooftop garden and picked handfuls of lemongrass, chilies, Japanese eggplants, and Sun Gold tomatoes, the right side of her brain told her to use her bounty to make a fresh, tasty version of traditional Chinese "drunken fish."
Start with a whole dorade, red snapper, or black bass. A day ahead of time, you'll make a bright, simple lemongrass-chili paste that only becomes more savory, spicy, and delicious as it ferments overnight.
When your fish is cooked with this magical paste—as well as garlic confit, San Marzano tomatoes, Japanese eggplant, and even more chili peppers—it becomes drunk with wonderful flavor. Deglaze with fermented black bean, xiaoxing wine, and more fried garlic.
Ready to impress? Just don't forget to save the garlicky liquid to pour on your rice. And maybe tuck a chili pepper into your fish's mouth, so that any squeamish diners get a little kick.
Don't worry about the fish though. He's drunk and having a great time.