Showing posts with label steamed fish. Show all posts
Showing posts with label steamed fish. Show all posts

Friday, April 4, 2014

Fragrant Steamed Fish

by Sheila Connolly


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!): 

Soy sauce

Sherry
A dash of sesame oil (not too much!)
Sliced lemon grass (if you happen to have any)
Peanut oil
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
 
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.  

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 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.
 
 

The next Museum Mystery, coming June 2014
 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Something Fishy

Years ago, so long that I don't want to mention the date (okay, decades), I read a fascinating recipe for cooking fish. It may have been from the Miami Herald, but I'm not sure anymore. I don't recall any of the ingredients, only the method of cooking -- in the dishwasher. I kid you not. The fish was tightly wrapped in aluminum foil and run through a wash cycle. Without detergent, of course. No drying.

The idea was that the steam cooked the fish. That crazy notion has stayed with me. I have never tried it, though. There's something about cooking fish in the dishwasher that just seems wrong to me. Plus, my dishwasher has a fairly long cycle. It seems like the fish would be overcooked. And I don't want to think about what would happen if the aluminum foil opened.

The principle appeals to me, though, and I read with great interest when Sheila blogged about baking fish over a pan of water. Then I grilled a turkey breast over a pan of water. You see where I'm going, don't you?

Yes, I wrapped a piece of boring cod in aluminum foil and steamed it over water on the grill. And it was the moistest, flakiest fish ever. We eat cod about once a week, and I have a feeling we'll be preparing it this way often.

You can mix and match your favorite spices and herbs. I think cumin is next on my list. If you're a dill lover, try adding a sprig of dill. Use a firm fish. I think you could do it with something as soft as tilapia, but check it after about 10 minutes because thin, delicate fish will cook much faster.

Steamed Fish on the Grill

1 pound of cod or other firm fish
1/2 of a lemon
2 green onions
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon butter
paprika
pepper
salt

aluminum foil
pan with water

Preheat the grill to 400 degrees.

Peel and smash the garlic. Chop the green onions.


Lay out a large piece of aluminum foil and place the fish on it. Sprinkle with paprika, pepper, and salt. Slice the lemon and place on the fish. Scatter the green onions over the fish and add the garlic. Cut the butter into 8-10 pieces and scatter on top of the fish.


Close the aluminum foil very well, making a seam along the top edge and the ends so no steam will escape.


Place on the upper rack of your grill. Fill the pan with about 1 1/2 inches water  and place underneath the fish. Close the top and cook 20 minutes.

Be careful opening the foil. It's hot!