|Steamed Ginger-Flavored Snapper
Suzuki no Saka-Mushi
|Preparing the fish:
4-inch square of kombu
One 1 1/2 pound whole sea base,
sea bream, red snapper,
or other white fish
|Wrap the kombu in a moist cotton cloth, and let it stand until softened, about 30 minutes.
Gut the fish, clean it, and wipe it dry with a paper towel. Transfer the fish to a steel rack set over a pan, and salt the fish on both sides. Let the fish stand for 30 minutes.
| Preparing the vegetables:
4 fresh shiitake mushrooms
8 small broccoli flowerets
|Rinse the shiitake, and cut away and discard their stems.
In a medium pot of salted boiling water, parboil the broccoli for 30 seconds. Drain it, and spread it in a colander to cool.
Steaming the fish:
One 1-inch piece og ginger,
peeled and sliced thin crosswise
2 1/2 Tablespoons sake
|Set a large pot of water over high heat. Set a bamboo steamer basket over plenty of water in another large pot, and set it over high heat, too. Place the softened kombu on a platter that will fit into the steamer.
| Wipe the fish with a paper towel to remove the salt and exuded liquid. When the water in the first pot comes to a boil, add the fish. If the whole fish won’t fit into the steamer, cut the fish in half. Blanch it for 30 seconds.
Carefully remove the fish from the water, using two large spatulas, and transfer the fish to the kombu-lined platter. Stuff the belly cavity with half the sliced ginger, and scatter the remaining ginger slices over the fish.
Transfer the platter to the hot steamer. Sprinkle the fish with the sake. If you are using a metal steamer, line the underside of the lid with a cotton cloth to prevent condensed steam from dripping over the fish. Cover the steamer, and steam the fish over high heat for 18 to 20 minutes or until the eye turns very white and pops up. About two minutes before the fish is done, add the shiitake and broccoli to the steamer and steam the fish and vegetables together.
| Serving and
Garnishing the fish:
1 Tablespoon peeled julienned ginger
1 naga negi long onion or
5 thick scallions,
julienned in 3-inch lengths
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 cup nihaizu dressing
|Using two spatulas, carefully transfer the cooked fish to a large serving platter. Arrange the vegetables next to the fish. Garnish the top of the fish with the julienned ginger or long onion or scallion.
In a small saucepan, heat the sesame oil until it is sizzling but not smoking. Pour the sesame oil over the fish.
Serve the fish with nihaizu dressing in a small bowl on the side. At the table the host may serve the fish to each of the diners, removing the flesh from the bone. Be careful not to swallow bones.
|Nihaizu Dressing: 1/4 cup komezu (rice vinegar), 2 Tablespoons shoyu (soy sauce): In a small saucepan, combine both ingredients, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn off the heat, and let the mixture cool. Store the dressing in the refrigerator for up to a week. (1/2 cup dressing) page 73
I found some nice looking golden beets with lovely fresh green tops when I bought the fish, so instead of the mushrooms and broccoli, that is what you see in the pictures. I roasted the beets with olive oil, and did a quick sauté of the greens. I don’t suppose beets are a vegetable used very much in Japan, but I’ve always liked the combination of ginger and beets. To be honest, I did not eat because once the cooking was finished, I just couldn’t look at food. Don’t worry, I’m not developing anorexia—maybe it’s the meds kicking in?
Anyway, Mr. Tess said he enjoyed the meal.