Crispy Farmers Market Vegetables with Caramelized Fish Sauce
Yields 4-6 Servings
from Chef Chris Shepherd of Underbelly, Houston, Texas
For Underbelly fish sauce
⅛ cup rice wine vinegar
¾ cup fish sauce
1½ tablespoons brown sugar
1 clove peeled garlic
10 sprigs cilantro
1 tablespoon water
For crispy vegetables
Oil for frying
2 pounds seasonal vegetables
¼ cup fish sauce (recipe above)
½ lime, juiced
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
4 picked cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)
For fish sauce, bring all sauce ingredients to a light simmer for 2–3 minutes. Strain and set aside. Note: yield is 1 cup—more than you will need here, but sauce keeps in refrigerator for up to 1 week.
For vegetables, heat enough oil to completely submerge vegetables in a stockpot or deep fryer to 350 degrees.
Drop vegetables into oil and fry until tender but still crispy, about 30 seconds–1 minute.
While frying vegetables, heat a large sauté pan over high heat until pan is very hot. Pour ½ cup fish sauce into pan. It should sizzle and come to an almost instant boil. Reduce sauce by half.
Remove vegetables from oil and drain on paper towels, then place into the sauté pan. Toss with fish sauce, then add lime juice and chopped cilantro. Toss to incorporate and garnish with additional cilantro.