“This dish was inspired by the fabulous and truly authentic Vietnamese eateries I found in Melbourne, and the fact that the locals seem to love their chicken parma! It’s a great dish to share with friends as everyone tucks in and helps themselves so there’s no washing up.” Rachel Khoo, Rachel Khoo's Kitchen Notebook Melbourne
- 25 g salt
- 5 g caster sugar
- 600 g skinless and boneless firm, white-fleshed fish fillet (see Note)
- 40 g plain flour
- 2 egg whites, lightly whisked
- 80 g (¾ cup) finely grated Parmesan
- 40 g (⅔ cup) breadcrumbs made from day old bread or panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- 2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into julienne or shredded
- 1 Lebanese cucumber, halved lengthways, seeded and cut into julienne or shredded
- Vietnamese mint (see Note), large lettuce leaves and lime wedges, to serve
Lime and Vietnamese mint mayonnaise
- 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
- 125 ml (½ cup) sunflower or vegetable oil
- ½ lime, zested
- 30 ml lime juice
- 1 tbsp finely chopped Vietnamese mint leaves
- salt, to taste
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 bird’s eye chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Marinating time 1 hour
Place the salt, sugar and 400 ml cold water in a small deep tray and stir until dissolved. Add the fish, making sure it is all covered in brine and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, to make the mayonnaise, place the egg yolks in a small food processor and with the motor running, slowly add the oil, drop by drop at first and then in a slow steady stream until emulsified. Alternatively, you can place the yolks in a bowl and gradually whisk in the oil by hand. Once all the oil is incorporated and is very thick, add the lime zest, juice, mint and salt. Transfer to a small airtight container and refrigerate until needed.
To make the dressing, whisk together all the ingredients and set aside.
Remove the fish from the brine and pat dry on paper towel. Cut into 2 cm-thick fingers. Set up 3 large plates side by side. Place the flour on the first plate, the lightly whisked egg whites on the second, then combine the Parmesan and breadcrumbs on the third plate. Dust the fish pieces in the flour, then dip into the egg white, allowing the excess to drain away. Coat in the breadcrumbs, pressing gently to make sure the crumbs adhere.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. When hot, cook the fish parma in batches for 3 minutes on each side or until golden and just cooked through. Drain on paper towel.
Place the carrot and cucumber in a bowl, whisk the dressing lightly and toss through. Serve the hot fish parma in lettuce cups, topped with the carrot and cucumber salad, mayonnaise, mint leaves and lime wedges.
• I used rock ling, but you could use any firm-white fleshed fish you like - just make sure it’s fresh and local. I like to brine the fish lightly before cooking as it firms up the texture of the fish and keeps the flesh lovely and juicy. The brine also lightly salts the fish so there’s no need to add seasoning at a later stage.
• I like to leave the mint leaves on the stalks as they do in Vietnamese restaurants.
Photography by Prue Ruscoe. Styling by Lucy Tweed. Food preparation by Leanne Kitchen. Creative concept by Lou Fay.
Concrete wallpaper from eurowalls. Grey enamel bowl from Citta Design. Black bowl from MH Ceramics.