Broiled Red Snapper with Tamarind Sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tamarind from a pliable block
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 2 small shallots
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped cleaned fresh cilantro roots reserved from Thai Ground-Pork Salad with Mint and Cilantro or cilantro stems
- 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce (preferably naam pla)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
- two 6-ounce red snapper fillets with skin
- 2 scallions
- 1 medium or 2 small fresh red chiles (1 to 3 inches long; preferably Thai)
- 2 about 2 tablespoons fresh whole Thai basil leaves or small fresh regular basil leaves
- Garnish: fresh basil sprigs
In a small bowl combine tamarind and water and let stand 10 minutes. With your fingers rub tamarind to dissolve in water. Pour mixture through a sieve into a small heavy saucepan, pressing hard on solids, and discard solids. Thinly slice shallots and mince garlic. Add shallots, garlic, cilantro roots, fish sauce, sugar, and salt to tamarind water and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Keep sauce warm, covered. Sauce may be made 1 hour ahead and reheated before serving.
Lightly brush rack of a small broiler pan with oil and on it arrange snapper fillets, skin sides down. Season fish with salt and broil 4 to 5 inches from heat until just cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes. While fish is broiling, thinly slice scallions and, wearing protective gloves, thinly slice chiles diagonally. Stir whole basil leaves into warm sauce just before serving.
Transfer fish to a platter and pour tamarind sauce over it. Scatter scallions and chiles over fish and garnish with basil sprigs.