I was speaking to a foodie friend yesterday and somehow fish came up. The details aren't all that important, what is important, is last night's dinner. She told me about the incredibly simple way she makes fresh fish and all I could focus on for the rest of the day was going to Chinatown, getting a fresh fish, and cooking it ASAP! There's nothing radical about the recipe or cooking method, it's a very classic Chinese preparation, but that doesn't make it any less delicious.
The results are so damn pretty! Okay, okay, so my idea of pretty and yours may differ, but you can't deny how yummy this looks. I bought a 1 1/2 pound fish that should have satisfied the hubs and I... I'll let you know that poor fishy was devoured in a manner of minutes. We could have easily eaten four each it was so good. You have been warned!
Steamed Fish a la Wendy
1 - 1 1/2 lb white fish. Make sure it was swimming and alive for the best results. Have them cut the fins, scale it, and gut it for you. I had them keep the tail and head on because it looks wonderful that way, but you can have them cut those off, too. (This happens to be a Tilapia, but I was told that Bass makes for some truly fine eats)
8-10 thick slices of fresh ginger
1 1/2 - 2 cups of fresh cilantro, stems removed (don't drive yourself nuts here if there are still some stems)
1 1/2 - 2 cups of fresh scallion, sliced into thin matchsticks
1/3 cup seasoned soy sauce for seafood (I was told to get Lee Kum Kee brand. This stuff is so amazing tasting, you're going to want to douse everything in it!)
1/8 cup sesame oil
1/8 cup vegetable oil
-Although it was probably washed at the Fish Monger, wash the outside and cavity again with water.
-Set your wok with 2 cups of water on the stove top and place a steaming plate in it (mine is bamboo. That doesn't matter as long as the plate can be raised by feet for steaming).
-Place fish on serving platter and distribute half of the sliced ginger in the cavity, the other half on top. Cover the wok (I used tin foil - don't have a wok cover), and let steam away for about 20 minutes or so. It's perfectly cooked when a chopstick can be inserted and pulled out with no resistance. If you don't have a wok, you can do this in the oven by filling a large, deep roasting pan, 1/4 full with water. Place the steaming plate in the center and place your dish on top. Cover the entire thing with foil.
-When fish is cooked, remove plate from wok and discard the ginger (if you're a real ginger fan, you can slice up the ginger and re-use it along with the other greens). Pour the soy sauce over fish and greens.
-Heat up the oils in a pot. Meanwhile, place the sliced scallion and cilantro on top of the fish, letting the head and tail peek out. Once the oil is boiling hot, carefully pour over the fish and greens - you should hear a very satisfying little crackling noise.