This steamed lapu-lapu with mayonnaise has been on my to-do list since last Christmas but I couldn’t find fresh grouper big enough for the recipe until the holidays passed. Imagine my delight when I finally chanced upon ones upward 3 to 5 pounds in size at Seafood City this weekend. At $5.99 a pound, they weren’t exactly cheap. The piece I took home cost about twenty five dollars but my, oh my, was every morsel so worth the stiff price.
If you’re looking for an impressive Noche Buena centerpiece, this is it. The colorful array of toppings wonderfully compliments the exquisite flavor of the steamed fish while the festive color combination easily jazzes up your holiday feast in Christmas style. I used chopped egg whites, yolks, carrots, roasted red bell peppers and sweet pickle relish to pull mine together but chopped red onions, olives and celery are some of the things you can top the fish with as well.
- Rinse fish under cold running water and pat dry.
- Rub tamarind powder all over fish including cavity. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let stand for about 10 to 15 minutes. Stuff cavity with lemon wedges and green onions.
- Steam fish for about 20 to 25 minutes or until flesh easily flakes with a fork.
- While fish is steaming, prepare toppings.
- Separate white part of eggs from yolk and finely chop.
- Over open gas flames, roast bell pepper until skin is charred. Remove from heat and allow to slightly cool. Under cold running water, peel skin and discard. Remove stem and seeds and discard. Finely chop flesh.
- In a pot over medium heat, heat lightly salted water to a boil. Add carrot and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes or until tender but crisp. With a slotted spoon, remove from pan and allow to cool. Finely chop.
- Gently remove fish from steamer and transfer onto serving platter. Remove lemon and green onions inside fish and discard. Allow to cool. Spread mayonnaise all over top of part of fish. Arrange toppings over mayonnaise as desired. Place a pitted olive on head of fish for the “eye”.