Steamed White Fish with Shiitake-Seaweed Broth

Serves: 4 • Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

It is said that one of the essential signs of a good Japanese chef is their ability to deftly steam fish. Using a traditional bamboo mushiki, a Bamboo steamer basket, this fish becomes tender and steeped in flavor.

Steamed White Fish
© Erik Bardin, The Frynamic Duo

INGREDIENTS

Broth:

  • 1 Tbsp. bacon fat or canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • ½ cup cilantro stems
  • 4 scallions, chopped into 3-inch pieces
  • ¼ red onion, chopped
  • 1 lemongrass root, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tsp. Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1½ oz. dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 10 sheets dried seaweed
  • ¼–⅓ cup soy sauce
  • Salt

Fish:

  • Four 5 oz. pieces white fish, preferably cod or halibut
  • 1 lemongrass root, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup ponzu sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sliced scallions, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

1. In a large pot, heat the bacon fat and sesame oil over moderate heat. Add the cilantro stems, scallions, onion, lemongrass, garlic, and peppercorns. Sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.

2. Add 5 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Add the mushrooms and dried seaweed and simmer, uncovered, for 35 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, prepare the fish: place the fillets in a small baking dish and sprinkle with lemongrass and garlic. Drizzle the ponzu sauce and sesame oil over the top and season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and refrigerate for 30 minutes to marinate.

4. Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl. Add the soy sauce and salt to taste. The broth can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days and reheated as needed.

5. In a small saucepan or wok, bring 2 inches of water to a simmer and place a bamboo steamer over the water. Remove the fish from the marinade and brush off the excess lemongrass and garlic. Place the fish in the steamer, cover, and steam until the fish is opaque, 13 to 18 minutes. Note that the fish on the lower level of the steamer will cook faster than the one on the top. When the fish is cooked, serve over the broth and garnish with the sliced scallions.

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