Fish sauce is revered around the world for its depth of flavor. Its saltiness is used for seasoning in many dishes but, on top of salt, it adds an incredible amount of flavor that can’t be achieved with salt alone.
The first recorded use of fish sauce in Western civilization appeared in ancient Greece before being adopted by the Romans. Reference to garum is peppered throughout ancient Roman dishes and has an astonishing amount of mentions in the recorded recipes of Marcus Gavius Apicius. It is said the silk road trade route brought fish sauce to Asia but it is argued that fish sauce was developed independently in Asian countries.
No matter the origin, fish sauce is here to stay. Drizzle it over roasted lamb and beef. Caramelize it with sugar and toss with green beans, chilies and fried shallots. It is the secret ingredient of my Caesar salad dressing and adds a punch to vinaigrettes for use on sturdy greens.
The most important thing when using any type of fish sauce is to read the label. The best just contain fish and salt. My favorite is Red Boat produced by the Pham family in Phu Quoc Island in Vietnam. It is liquid gold. The mouthfeel is rich and luxurious, with the perfect balance of salt and the rich umami taste of fermented fish. It’s so good I could drink it… and I have!
The notes of this delicious fish sauce go very well with the complex flavors and textures of Orgia. In fact, when I was tasting fish sauce in the Red Boat barrel room, the first match that came to mind was Orgia.
This Vietnamese Style Chicken Salad was inspired by a variety of chicken salads we enjoyed in Vietnam. It is fresh and delicious. The complexity of the dressing and aromatic herbs compliment the fresh aromatics and layered texture of Orgia for a match made in heaven.
Until the next wine…