The first fish we cooked whole and served to the public at the Santa Fe Bar & Grill was viewed with great skepticism by myself (though I loved the idea) and the waiters (who were afraid the public would leave).
Gut and skin the catfish.
Heat the oil in a heavy casserole or large wok to 375°F. Season the cornstarch with the salt. Roll the fish in the cornstarch, shake off the excess, and set aside.
Put the fish stock, garlic, and ginger in a sauté pan over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes.
Put the fish in the hot oil, taking great care not to get burned in case the oil boils up and over. Cook for 8 minutes.
While the fish is cooking, add the black beans and chili paste to the stock mixture. Cook 1 minute, add the tomato, butter, and sesame oil. Stir to incorporate the butter and pour the sauce equally onto 4 warm plates.
Lift the fish out of the oil, drain for a second on paper towels, and put the fish on the sauce. Garnish each fish with parsley.
© 1986 Jeremiah Tower. All rights reserved.