Saturday, March 5, 2011

March 5: Whole Fish with Ginger and Scallions

Coarse salt
1 cup short-grain white rice
2 whole cleaned fish such as red snapper or small sea bass, each 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
1 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 bunch of scallions, cut into 3-inch pieces then thinly shredded into thin sticks
1/4 to 1/3 cup tamari (dark aged soy sauce)

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add salt and the rice. When the water returns to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Set aside.

Place a steamer rack in a wok over a few inches of water. To make your own steamer, place a few inches of water in a deep skillet. Set a small bowl, inverted, into the water and use it as a pedestal. Bring the water to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer.

Clean the fish under running water, making sure the inside cavity is completely clean. Cut off any fins left on the fish. Score the skin with a sharp knife, making 3 or 4 cuts into the skin along the side of the fish. Pat the fish dry inside and out and place half of the ginger in the cavity of each fish.

Arrange the 2 fish on a plate and set the plate on the steamer rack or on top of the inverted bowl. Cover the pan and steam the fish until opaque and white, about 10 to 12 minutes for 2 whole fish, 8 to 10 for 1 fish. The ginger flavor will permeate the fish as it cooks. Remove the fish to a heat-proof platter.

Heat the oil in a small pot until it smokes.

Top the cooked fish with piles of shredded scallions. Pour a few tablespoons of tamari over the fish and scallions, then carefully drizzle on the hot oil. It will crackle and sizzle as it hits the scallions and the skin of the fish.

Carefully lift the fish off of the bones and serve the meat with the white rice.


I have made this recipe several times before and I usually use tilapia or whatever they have frozen at Walmart. I ordered a Red Snapper from the grocery store, and when I went to pick it up today, they said it never came in. So they gave me these fillets for half price. The tilapia is very delicate and flaky and very mild, whereas this red snapper was much more meaty and flavorful. I really liked it (even though it's funner to make it with the whole fish :). Pouring the hot oil on the fish is a lot of fun too. Everyone gathers around to hear it crackle and sizzle. Overall, this is a simple dinner to make with simple flavors and very few ingredients, but with optimal results. It's delicious!

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