For the black bean sauce
: Soak the beans in cold water for a few minutes to remove the salt. Drain the beans and pour the rice wine
over them; use a fork or the back of a spoon to mash
Heat the oil in a wok
over high heat. Add the garlic
and chili and stir-fry
briefly until just beginning to brown and catch on the wok. Add the mashed beans, stir briefly, and then add the stock, soy sauce
and white pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring, and cook briefly to thicken. Add the cornstarch slurry
and cook until the sauce thickens and is glistening. Remove from the heat and keep warm until ready to serve.
To prepare the fish, filet
the flesh, keeping the skeleton whole with the head intact. Cut the fish into 2-inch cubes. Mix the potato starch
, salt, and white pepper
together and lightly dust
some over the fish skeleton and head. Toss the fish pieces in the remaining starch mixture until well coated, shaking off the excess. Heat the deep fryer or a wok with about 3 inches of oil to 350 degrees F. Using two metal skewers, pierce the skeleton body with them in two spots to secure the skeleton standing upright and slightly curved. Gently lower the skeleton into the oil and fry briefly on both sides until light golden. Drain
on paper towels and set aside.
When ready to serve, fry the fish pieces very quickly, until cooked through and just beginning to turn light golden, 1 to 2 minutes.
Arrange the fish body, standing upright on a serving platter and pile the fish
pieces in the center. Garnish
with the edible flowers and scallions
Pour some black rice vinegar
over the ginger in a small bowl. Serve the fish with the black bean sauce and ginger vinegar on the side.