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The Single Best Fish Sauce, Please!

 Please give me a recipe for a fish sauce.

 Ingredients: Some amount butter.
      Instructions: Melt butter and drizzle over fish.

Dear friend, there are whole recipe books of fish sauces. There may be recipe books of sauces to put over specific kinds of fish. And do you know how many kinds of fish there are? According to FishBase, there 31,200 species having 276,500 common names. Now not every fish has to have its own sauce, but still….

Our point is that not only are there thousands of sauces out there, there are sauces that are better suited to mild fish and there are sauces that are better suited to assertive fish. Surely you would like to ask for a recipe that enhances to the kind of fish you are planning to cook?

We thought about putting up a list of some of the standard fish sauces, but there is just no point – there are too many and it would be a waste of space.

We were pretty close to the mark in suggesting melted butter; the most basic accompaniment for fish is maître d'hôtel butter, in which a half-teaspoon of lemon juice is blended with a stick of unsalted butter, a teaspoon of minced parsley, a teaspoon of minced shallot, and salt and pepper, rolled into a log and refrigerated. Chives, Dijon mustard, puréed anchovies, puréed garlic, and/or other herbs can be added, as well.

Another option, of course, is not something everyone thinks of as a "sauce" to put over fish, but is probably the most common one in our part of the world – Tartar Sauce. If that's what you were looking for, then your needs have been easily met.

(We assume you are not asking about the various Asian fish sauces, which are made of fermented fish, rather than being made to put over fish.)

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