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Yam Pla (red Snapper Salad)

1 1/2 lb Red snapper fillets
6 T Nam pla (fish sauce)
1/4 c Dry white wine
1 Clove garlic, peeled
1 t Black peppercorns, crushed
1/2 t Sugar
1/3 c Fresh lime juice
1/2 t Vegetable oil
1 c Fresh Thai basil or sweet basil leaves, coarsely torn or chopped
1 Head leaf lettuce, leaves separated, washed & dried


Preheat the broiler and position the rack 5 to 6 inches from the broiler element. Lightly oil a baking sheet with sides. Set snapper fillets skin-side-down on the prepared baking sheet. Mix together 4 T of the nam pla and wine and pour over the fillets. Broil until the fish is opaque and flakes easily, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. With your fingers, flake the fish into a shallow bowl. Combine garlic, black peppercorns and sugar in a mortar & pestle and pound to a paste (Alternatively, finely chop garlic and combine it with black pepper and sugar in a small bowl, mashing the mixture against the side with a spoon). Stir lime juice and the remaining 2 T nam pla into the garlic mixture. Heat a skillet or wok over medium-high heat and add oil, swirling to coat the pan. Once the oil is hot, toss in basil leaves. Lower heat to medium and stir-fry for a scant 30 seconds. Add the basil to the fish, then pour the dressing over and toss. (The salad can be prepared ahead to this point and stored, covered, in the refrigerator up to 2 hours.) Just before serving, line a platter with lettuce leaves and mound the salad in the center.


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