Spring is going to come this year, isn’t it? In a way I’m sorry when the cold weather retreats, because that means the end of rich soups and stews. But it also means the beginning of fresh vegetables and grilling and all manner of other good things. It’s a fair trade.
Anyway, as I watched yet another Nor’easter roll through recently, I found myself craving something that was not full of cream and butter and all that good bad stuff. I had a nice piece of pollock in the refrigerator (you could use any firm-fleshed white fish for this, like cod or hake), and I was thinking of something light and flavorful.
Many, many years ago, I gave my not-yet-husband a wok for his birthday. We have used it often over the years (and it shows). It came with a steamer tray, which we have not used over those years (I had to peel off the original label to use it here). Then I settled into one of those “what if?” moods.
Let’s give the fish some flavor. So I made a very simple marinade (the amounts will vary depending on the size of your fish—you can start with a tablespoon of each of the liquids—but not the sesame oil!):
So I sliced the onion, and spread the slices over the steamer tray. Then I sliced the garlic and the ginger very thinly and added those. I drained the wood ear shreds (reserving the liquid) and scattered those over the top. Then I cut lengths of the green onion and made a layer of those.
The fish emerged moist and flavorful. I served it with white rice and the vegetables from under the fish. And maybe it smelled just a little like spring.
A dash of sesame oil (not too much!)
Sliced lemon grass (if you happen to have any)
Freshly ground pepper
I rubbed that into the fish and let it sit while I sliced other things. What did I have? Garlic. Ginger. An onion. Green onions. Nice bright flavors.
Then I found a bag of dried wood ear fungus lurking in my pantry. You have to soak that in boiling water for a bit before you use it, but that’s easy.
|Shredded wood ear|
I laid my fish filet (I happened to have one piece, but you could do it with individual serving-size pieces) over the sliced vegetables. I poured an inch or two of boiling water carefully around the side, and added the reserved wood ear liquid. Then I covered the wok and set it over a low flame for about ten minutes (time will vary according to the thickness of the fish).
|Ready to steam|
The next Museum Mystery, coming June 2014