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Cá thu (Vietnamese mackerel) with butter & red wine sauce

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Growing up I hated fish. It was always so…dry. Can’t blame my mom though – in Vietnam, cooking everything until they’re overcooked is a must, otherwise you risk food poisoning…

Anyway, this summer when I was home, my dad brought us this beautiful, HUUUGE, at least 6 pound mackerel (it’s rather round…I don’t think it looks like Spanish mackerel or the type I had in Japan, but that’s what wikipedia says, so…). I made a fake balsamic vinegar sauce (red wine + honey + apple cider vinegar) for this fish, and cooked it the way I would when I’m in the US. Had everyone in my family ooh-ing and awwing over how soft the fish was 🙂


2 big, thick mackerel/any white fish fillets (mine was pretty thick, about 2”)

1 tbs honey/maple syrup

4 tbs red wine

1 tbs apple cider vinegar

Salt, pepper


Butter (the more the better)

1. Salt the fish and let sit for 10 mins. Melt butter in a pan and fry the fish, skin down, until skin is golden and crispy.

2. Remove fish to plate (doesn’t have to cook through yet!). Make the sauce (make as much sauce as you need. The recipe amounts given are mere suggestion!) by sauteeing the garlic, then add red wine & honey. Wait for it to cook down.

3. When the sauce cook down to half, add the fish back to the pan, skin-side up. If your fillet is as thick as mine, it should cook just right in about 5-7 mins.

4. While the fish is cooking, add the vinegar and let it cook down. Vinegar should be added last to avoid bitterness.

5. Salt the sauce to taste. Plate the fish and pour sauce over it.


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