Note: Some fish options in this recipe may be unsustainable. Check Seafood Watch for information and alternatives.
This recipe is from Li Ping Wang, a visiting scholar at Harvard University who cooks in her spare time. An excellent rental movie to accompany this dish is Roman Polanski's Chinatown, although purists may prefer Orson Welles's Shanghai Lady. Also worthwhile are the early films of Jackie Chan, which form the basis of the artist's œuvre.
Use fresh, cleaned whole fish such as catfish, sea bass, or red snapper for this recipe.
Make four slices on each side of the fish with a sharp knife. Place the fish in a marinade of 1/2 cup soy sauce and two tablespoons freshly sliced ginger. Turn the fish after 10 minutes. Leave the fish in the marinade for 30 minutes.
Over the highest flame possible, heat four tablespoons of canola oil (or any vegetable oil) in a wok. When a wisp of smoke appears, put the fish in the very hot oil. Reserve the marinade.
Slide the fish so that it cooks completely on one side. Using tongs and being careful not to tear the skin, turn the fish gently to the other side. Each side should cook for about five minutes, until the skin is nice and crispy.
Cook for about 8 minutes then turn off the heat and lift the fish onto a warm platter. Spoon sauce on top of fish. Serve with steamed rice.
Adam Rapoport, editor in chief of Bon Appetit magazine and the website www.bonappetit.com, knows his way around a grill. He has edited an entire book on the subject: The Grilling Book: The Definitive Guide from Bon Appetit.