I have wonderful memories of sitting with my parents as they prepared and cooked this dish. Funnily enough, my father actually claimed victory on this recipe but then my mother did, too. If they were still with us I could ask them, but for now, I'm thankful for the opportunity to share a part of them with this beloved recipe with the world.
Technique tip: If you don't have a grill, you could always cook in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat for 4 minutes on each side for a perfect medium, or more for thicker cuts.
For the Tamarind Dipping Sauce:
In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting, add the garlic and cook until it turns a light golden brown, about 1 minute.
Add the tamarind paste, brown sugar and fish sauce. Adjust the heat to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes to thicken a bit, then add the lime juice. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl. If using the chile, stir it in and let the sauce cool completely before serving.
For the fried shallots:
In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. When a slice of shallot sizzles immediately when added to the pan, add the shallots and cook until light golden brown, 2-4 minutes (the shallots will continue to brown as they cool, so make sure you remove them before they're truly golden-brown).
Drain the shallots in a fine-mesh sieve set over a small bowl, then transfer the shallots to a plate lined with paper towels and spread them out to drain. Save the oil for the Scallion Relish.
For the Scallion Relish:
In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, remove the pan from heat and stir in the scallions, salt and sugar. Stir until the salt and sugar dissolve, then serve, or set aside until ready to use.
The relish can be transferred to a small container and stored in the fridge for up to 1 week.
For the Brussels sprouts:1.
Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat the oven to 450 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and put the baking sheet into the oven to preheat. Let the pan heat in the oven for 10 minutes after the oven is hot.2.
In a large bowl, combine the Brussels sprouts, oil, salt and pepper to taste. Mix until each sprout is coated in the oil. Carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven and spread the Brussels sprouts evenly across the pan. Give the pan a shake to distribute them so they all have enough room to crisp up.3.
Return to the oven and bake the sprouts on the bottom rack for 20-25 minutes, stirring them around about halfway through cooking, until the Brussels sprouts are evenly golden brown, and the leaves are dark and crispy.4.
In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water and set aside. In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, fish sauce, vinegar and lime juice and stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, then give the cornstarch mixture a quick stir and pour it into the pan. Let the sauce come back to a boil, stirring until it becomes translucent again. Remove from the heat and set aside.
For the salmon:1.
Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium heat (about 400 F). Brush the cooking grates clean.2.
Brush the salmon on both sides with the oil, then season the flesh side with salt and pepper.3.
Brush or rub the grates with oil, then place the salmon over direct heat, skin-side up, cover and grill until the fish releases easily from the grill, about 4 minutes. Turn the fish and repeat on the second side, grilling until the fish is opaque at the edges but still a bit shiny at the center, another 4 minutes (or a few minutes longer for a thicker cut of fish).
Transfer the Brussels sprouts to a serving platter and drizzle the sauce on top or serve it on the side.
Transfer the fish to a plate, then spread the Scallion Relish on top and sprinkle with fried shallots and chopped peanuts. Serve with sauce for dipping or drizzling (this is best eaten the same day).