Friday, May 11, 2012


by Sheila Connolly

I know, I promised to shut up about fish, but I visited the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia earlier this month—one of my all-time favorite food places—and I was reminded again of what I'm missing.  Here's a list of the types of fish that a single vendor had on display:

Squid (whole or cleaned), baby octopus, smelts, spots, croakers, shad, sea trout, mountain trout, silver trout, whiting, porgy, sea bass, mullet, bluefish, perch, red snapper, butterfish, striped bass and bronzino.

To add insult to injury, the most expensive (red snapper and bronzino) were priced at $8.99 per pound, but most were between $2.49 and $4.99 per pound, less than half of what my local market charges for any kind of fish.
Last time I looked, Massachusetts was a lot closer to the ocean than Pennsylvania.  And the Reading Terminal vendors were Amish, which means they come from even further away from the coast.  Why, why must I be so deprived?  I contented myself with taking pictures—it's kind of hard to carry raw fish on a plane. Maybe next time I'll drive—with a very large cooler.

Anyway, here's one more simple and quick fish dish, and then I'll go sulk quietly, at least until I learn to catch my own fish. But then I'd have to learn to filet them.  Oh dear.

1½ pounds sturdy white fish (hake, pollock or cod), cut into pieces of roughly the same thickness (so they will cook evenly)


½ cup chopped green onions
3 Tblsp minced or grated peeled fresh ginger
1 Tblsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 Tblsp peanut oil
1 Tblsp soy sauce

Rinse the pieces of fish and pat dry.  Combine the green onions, ginger, rice wine, oil and soy sauce in a glass baking dish.  Add the fish and turn until the pieces are coated.  Marinate for 1 hour at room temperature.


3 Tblsp sugar
2 Tblsp soy sauce
2 Tblsp Asian sesame oil
2 Tblsp rice wine or dry sherry
1 whole star anise
¼ cup chopped green onions

Bring the first five ingredients to a boil in a heavy small saucepan, stirring to dissolve the sugar (yes, I really do have star anise in my pantry).  Reduce heat to medium and simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened.  Remove the star anise and add the green onions.

Star Anise

Drain the marinade from the fish and pat the pieces dry (save the marinade).  Heat a flat-bottomed pan over high heat.  Add 1 Tblsp of oil and let heat (note:  peanut oil will withstand heat better than most vegetable oils), then add the fish pieces (in one layer) and cover for 30 seconds.  Loosen the pieces from the pan with a spatula, reduce the heat to medium and cook for one minute.  Turn the pieces and cook for one additional minute.

Add the reserved marinade to the pan and cook for one more minute.

Serve with rice, and drizzle the sauce over both the fish and the rice.


  1. Mmmmm, the marinade looks delicious. Making my mouth water to read the recipe!

  2. Mine, too! One of these days, we really should try to unravel the mysteries of marketing fish. I'm also in a coastal state, not close to the ocean, but a while lot closer to the Virginia shore than to Indonesia.

    Sounds wonderful, Sheila. I have to remember to buy green onions and shallots once in a while!

    ~ Krista

  3. Wow, what a lot of fish. Love this recipe. Asian fish...I use the gluten-free soy sauces and they taste just the same, IMHO. Love shallots!