1.5 - 2 lb. whole Snapper - cleaned
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 cup Shallot Infused Oil and Crispy Shallots
1/4 cup flour for dusting fish (rice flour or all purpose is fine)
1 bunch fresh cilantro for garnish
Shallot Infused Oil
1/2 cup oil for frying (coconut oil preferred or peanut oil)
1 medium shallot sliced into rings
1" finger of ginger
Lime Cilantro Fish Sauce
Juice of 1 lime
3 tablespoons raw cane sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons diced shallot
2 tablespoons diced cilantro stems
1 red Thai chili (optional)
Start by heating up 1/2 cup oil with shallot slices in a small saucepan over medium heat. Keep an eye on the shallots, moving them around so they don't stick together. As soon as they turn golden, turn off the heat and remove from oil and drain on paper towels sprinkling them with a pinch of kosher salt. While the oil is still hot, throw in the piece of ginger and allow to steep until cool enough to transfer (if storing). The oil can be made a day ahead of time. Use Crispy Shallots to garnish dish before serving.
For the sauce, I like to use a small mason jar. Juice one lime and add sugar and fish sauce. Shake vigorously until sugar is dissolved. Add diced shallot and cilantro stems. Shake again and keep in fridge until ready to serve. This sauce can be made a few days ahead of time. If you like heat, add a few slices of thai chilies to this sauce -- keeping in mind, a few slices go a long long way.
Right before you're ready to fry the fish, pat dry any excess water, and score each side of the snapper about 1" apart down to the bone. You should have 3 or 4 slits on each side. Season both sides and cavity with salt, then dust with flour.
In a large cast iron pan or preferably a wok, heat the shallot oil over medium high heat. Place the fish in the pan and begin spooning excess hot oil over the top. Tilt the pan if needed to pool the oil. Total cook time is about 9-12 minutes per inch thickness of fish. A typical snapper is just over an inch thick. This is a more advanced method or cooking the fish.
Alternatively, you can fry the fish on one side, then flip it after 6-7 minutes. Cook another 4-6 minutes and remove from pan.
To serve, place fried fish on a serving platter, spoon on Lime Cilantro Fish Sauce, tear large pieces of fresh cilantro over the top of the fish and finish with the Crispy Shallots.