Vietnamese cuisine is one of the many nourishing offerings being served up by Miami Book Fair this year. (📸: Courtesy photo)
📚 Last week marked the start of The New Tropic’s series spotlighting Miami Book Fair’s 2021 itinerary. Miami Dade College’s annual celebration of the written word is returning on Sunday, Nov. 14, and will run for a week through Sunday, Nov. 21.
If you’ve already read through last Wednesday’s entry detailing Hear Us: Writing from the Inside During the Time of Covid and its accompanying panel taking place on Sunday, Nov. 21, be sure to scroll on for something special and savory.
Mango and Peppercorns: A Memoir of Food, and Unlikely Family shares the story of the award-winning and much-missed Hy Vong Vietnamese restaurant in Miami. Fortunately for readers, it also details some of the delicious recipes that made the spot such a success. ⬇️
Ahead of the Miami Book Fair panel featuring Katherine Manning, Tung Nguyen and Lyn Nguyen on Sunday, Nov. 21, we’re cracking open the Mango and Peppercorns cookbook to share the goods with you, our dear readers. If this doesn’t work up your appetite for literary celebrations, we don’t know what will…
Fish with Mango Sauce
This mango sauce-flavored dish can be served with fried snapper or grouper, but it’s flexible enough for any kind of fish prepared any sort of way, whether that be steamed, baked, or broiled. Feel free to add more peppercorns, mango or nuóc chám to suit your taste. Green peppercorns in brine can be found at some grocery stores and online.
3 T unsalted butter
1 ½ ripe mangoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
1 ½ t green peppercorns in brine, drained
1 1/s T fish sauce
3 T heavy cream
Vegetable oil for frying
2 lb (910 g ) white fish fillets, such as snapper, or grouper, skin removed
¾ C (180 ml) Nu’óc Chám (gently warmed, if it has been refrigerated)
2 green onions, thinly sliced, for garnish
In a small pot, melt the butter over low heat. (You can also do this in a small bowl in the microwave.) Add the mango, peppercorns and fish sauce, gently mix together, and let cool. Add the heavy cream, gently mix, and set aside.
In a large heavy skillet, add 1 inch (2.5 cm) of oil over medium-high heat until almost smoking — cook at about 350 degrees °F (180 °C) Carefully add the fillets to the pan, then immediately push a spatula under each fillet so the fish does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Cook, flipping once, until cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes per side, depending on the fillets’ size. Transfer the fillets to plates or one large platter, draining any excess oil first, if needed. Top with the reserved mango sauce, the nuóc chám, and green onions.
The Classic Vietnamese dipping sauce incorporates savory, tart and sweet flavors. Tung choose to highlight savory and tart: her version uses far less sugar than you may find in other recipes. Nu’óc chám is essential for Tunh’s Spring Rolls (Chá Gió) and Fish with Mango Sauce.
Make 3 cups (720 ML)
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
½ C + 1T (135 ml) fish sauce
2 T + ½ t sugar
¼ c (60 ml) lime juice
In a medium bowl, stir together the garlic, fish sauce, sugar and 2 °C of water until the sugar is dissolved. Add the lime juice and stir again. The sauce will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. Stir before using.
Katherine Manning, Tung Nguyen and Lyn Nguyen will discuss Mango and Peppercorns: A Memoir of Food, and Unlikely Family and the American Dream at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 21 in Room 2106 at Miami Dade College, Wolfson Campus. The event will also be livestreamed at miamibookfaironline.com.
You can find even more information and cool events by checking out @miamibookfair on Twitter and Instagram as well as the official website.