From the Sea to your Table
The most important thing to remember is that the freshness is key. Bad fish will ruin any dish. Since we are not breading or frying, you have to make sure that fish you pick is pristine. Smell the fish; if it smells like the sea then you know that it’s fresh.
One of my favorite things to eat when I think of healthy eating is steamed whole fish. Most people are put off by it because they think it is so hard to make. I will put your mind at ease with a simple recipe that anyone can make. The most important thing to remember is that the freshness is key. Bad fish will ruin any dish. Since we are not breading or frying, you have to make sure that fish you pick is pristine. Smell the fish; if it smells like the sea then you know that it’s fresh. The smell of ammonia should not be present. Poke it, not hard, just enough to see if the flesh springs back. If your finger mark does not spring back, it’s not good. The last test is to take a peek at the gills; if it’s bright red and there is no slime present, then you are good to go. I personally use a bamboo steamer on a kawali, but whatever you have will work just ﬁ ne, just make sure that the serving plate you have fits in the steamer. The fish I chose to steam is whole lapu lapu, but this can be subbed with anything you like. Filleted Dory, tilapia, dalagang bukid is really up to you. This also goes great with shrimp, crabs and lobster. I tend to add a lot of garlic to this recipe when I use it for shellfish. The Pechay I added to give some color and vegetables to the mix always goes great with steamed fish. Again, since this column is called The Adaptable Gourmet, so I want you to tweak my recipes. But please post pics and share them with me.
- 1 1/2kg Senora Lapu Lapu or Maya-maya
- salt and white pepper to taste
- 50g Lee Kum Kee Light Soy Sauce
- 25g Lee Kum Kee Dark Soy sauce
- 15g sugar
- 10g ginger (strips)
- 25g fish stock or chicken stock
- salt and pepper to taste
- 20g Cilantro (Sprigs)
- 20g Ginger (Strips)
- 20g Leeks (Strips)
- 10g Lee Kum Kee Sesame Oil
- 50g Canola Oil (Heated to smoking point)
- Make sauce by adding everything to a small sauce pot. Bring to a boil then turn off and let site for 15 minutes. Strain and set the sauce aside until you are ready to use it. This will last in the chiller for two weeks so you can make a big batch and keep it so you can make steamed fish three times a week.
- Turn your steamer on and make sure that it is on a high steam before you add the fish.
- Clean fish by removing all the scales and running over cold water. Make sure the insides are removed. You can always have your fish monger do this for you. Pat the fish dry and season the fish with salt and white pepper. Place on a serving plate and spoon over 100 grams of sauce. Place into steamer and let the temp come back up to high. Should take about a minute. After a minute turn your fire down to a medium heat and let steam for 22 – 25 minutes. DO NOT open the lid this is the most important thing. You do not want to release any of the steam. Not this will take some practice but when you get your timing down you will be fine.
- Now the fish is done remove it from the steamer and add the garnish. Make sure your canola oil is nice and smoky then pour the oil slowly over the fish and garnish you will sear the garnish to release the aroma and flavor. Now if you want to skip this part you can so it stays real healthy. Just add the garnish to the fish during the steaming process. It won’t look as nice but the flavor will be there.
- Plate up any way you like!
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