Baked Fish, Manila Style
"After a Sunday afternoon with Monk Atrim at the cockfights — and more of this gentleman later! — a quartet of us went over to the Polo Club, after two Quarentine Cocktails from hand of Monk's own priceless Chino bartender at the huge Manila Hotel. There, with chilled Chilean Undurraga Rhin in brown squatty saddlebag-fitting bottles, we had the following masterpiece, involving a fish much like our own southern coast red snapper. It would be equally suitable for pike, bluefish, a big rainbow trout, or black bass."
— Charles H. Baker, Jr.
- One 5-pound fish, preferably red snapper
- Juice of 3 limes or 1 1/2 lemons
- Salt, to taste
- 3 Cups cashews, chopped
- 1 Cup grated mild cheese
- 1 small clove garlic, crushed
- 1 small onion, scraped pulp
- 1 Cup milk
- 1/4 Cup sherry or Madeira
- 1/2 Teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 2 bay leaves, rubbed fine
- 1 Cup dry, fine breadcrumbs
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Coat the fish inside and out with the lime juice. Season with salt lightly, and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 4 hours.
Grease a baking dish and place the fish on the bottom. In a bowl, combine the chopped nuts, cheese, garlic, and onion, moistening with the milk to make a stiff paste. Season with salt and cayenne, to taste, and add the sherry, grated nutmeg, and bay leaves. Coat the fish with the mixture, and cover with the breadcrumbs.
Break up the butter into chunks and scatter over the fish. Brown in the oven, basting well, until the fish flakes easily with a fork.