"I use a backyard pizza oven to cook whole fish, but a barbecue with a lid, or even a large frying pan that's then placed in the oven, works just as well," says Amy Hamilton of Liberté in Albany, WA. "A julienne peeler will save a lot of time with the salad, leaving you with more time to drink booze and embarrass yourself on Christmas Day."
- 1½ tbsp fish sauce
- 1½ tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 3 tsp lemon juice
- 25 gm caster sugar
- 1 clove, finely chopped
- ½ long red chilli, finely chopped
- ½ green papaya or 2 green mangoes, cut into julienne
- 1 carrot, cut into julienne
- 1 large golden shallot, thinly sliced lengthways
- 2 long red chillies (optional), cut into julienne
- 4 cups (loosely packed) mixed herbs, such as Vietnamese mint, coriander, mint, Thai basil and red perilla
- 1For nuoc cham, whisk ingredients and 2 tbsp water in a bowl until sugar dissolves. Season to taste.
- 2Heat a barbecue flat-plate to high. (Alternatively, heat a large non-stick frying pan over high heat and preheat oven to 180°C.) Rub fish and cavity with salt to season, add fried-shallot oil to barbecue plate, then sear fish, turning carefully so skin doesn't tear, until skin is golden (4 minutes each side). Reduce heat to low, cover with barbecue lid (or transfer to oven) until flesh can almost be pulled away from the bone (8-10 minutes). Rest in a warm place for 2 minutes, allowing the residual heat to finish cooking the fish.
- 3Meanwhile, for papaya salad, combine ingredients in a bowl, add 80ml nuoc cham, season to taste, and toss to combine.
- 4Top fish with some salad, scatter with peanuts and fried shallots and serve with extra salad and nuoc cham.
Drink suggestion: A crisp sémillon, such as Apricus Hill Semillon from Denmark, WA, which has notes of crunchy snow pea, blossom and spice. Drink suggestion by Keryn Giles.