Embrace fish sauce, smell and all

Dana-Leigh Formon, Table Matters blogger, had a fear of fish sauce so intense that she had nightmares of being chased by the brown liquid.

“Even the name made my skin tingle,” she writes. “Before I even ever opened a bottle, I was convinced it would smell like liquid death.”

Her culinary curiosity led her to a recipe that used this potent sauce and she decided to commit to it.

To her surprise it wasn’t half bad, even though it did smell like death.

“I had tasted something within this recipe that I had never experienced before; there was this extra, subtle flavor, meaty yet fishy in a pleasant way,” she writes. “Turns out, with the right amount of knowledge, creativity, and a healthy dose of reality orientation, fish sauce can be more than a nightmare-inducing condiment.”

Fish sauce is composed of whole fish, salt and water that have fermented in a barrel for 12 to 18 months, according to Formon.

“While your first thought might be “Holy bacteria, Batman!” the salt used in the fermentation process completely kills any and all bacteria that could ever have hoped to grow,” she writes.

You can find fish sauce at your local supermarket or specialty stores and markets.

“When it comes to buying fish sauce, many culinary resources in general tend to say it doesn’t really matter where you buy it, because when it comes to taste, the difference between a “good” and “better” sauce is negligible,” she writes.

To incorporate it into your cooking routine, Formon says that a general consensus says it can be a substitute for Worcestershire sauce (using the same amount) in any recipe or used in steak marinades, stews, and meatloaf mixes.

To read her full post, and get her recipe for Caesar salad, click here.