Tonight was the final night of dining on our Kampachi. I felt inspired by Chinese-style steamed fish dishes and wanted to try my best to replicate the technique. Just last weekend, we had a steamed Rock Cod and I loved how it was prepared, simple and full of flavor. The secret is in the soy-based sauce which uses green onions, cilantro and ginger.
I prepared a bamboo steamer with a layer of romaine lettuce, any type of leafy green would work well. The goal is to create a layer beneath the fish so that it does not stick, yet steam is allowed to pass through. On top of the romaine, I place chopped green onions, cilantro and ginger, about 1/4 cup of each. I took this photo before the cilantro was added, but I did add it eventually :-)
Place the fish filet on top of the prepared bed, then steam for 5-8 minutes or until opaque. It’s just that simple.
Now for the secret sauce. When eating dim sum and last weekend while having the steamed fish, I’ve come across this special soy dipping sauce served with some dishes. It tastes so good that I could drink it with a spoon. It’s soy sauce, but it has onion and other flavors in it too — as Emeril would say, it’s kicked up a notch.
When preparing steamed fish, the sauce is poured over the cooked fish, then hot oil with onion and ginger is poured over the fish. This mix of onion and ginger blends with the sauce to create an amazing flavor. It seems that the sauce is prepared from basic ingredients, each person putting their own spin on it. Here’s mine:
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro
Heat this mixture, either in a microwave or on the stove, until hot. Place cooked fish on a platter and pour this sauce over the top. In retrospect, this made alot more sauce that needed for my little filet. If steaming a whole fish, this would be the perfect amount.
In a sauce pan, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil until smoking hot. Add 1 chopped green onion and 1 tablespoon minced ginger. The flavors will burst into the oil, cook for 10-15 seconds then pour immediately over the top of the fish. Serve and enjoy!
The fish turned out perfectly — it was firm to the touch. At first, I worried that it was overcooked because it did feel really firm. I wondered if I had screwed it up (and feared a ruined meal). However, when I took my first bite all of my fears vanished. The fish was tender and soft, practically melting in my mouth. The sweet and savory sauce matched nicely with the mild fish. I served the meal with steamed rice and my infamous stir-fried romaine.
The sauce turned out pretty good too — not quite the same as the restaurant, so I’ll work on it a bit more. Maybe a little less dark soy sauce. Don’t get me wrong, I still scooped up extra sauce and slathered it over my rice. It was still pretty dang good.
The steamed preparation was the perfect end to a wonderful fish experience. I’ve enjoyed exploring my little Kampachi friend and would gladly use it again. It’s mild, buttery, and rich. Next time tough, I might just buy the fillets and not go through the hassle of filleting the fish myself. Rachael Ray would agree that this would be a shortcut opportunity to save me time in preparing a quick and simple dinner. And, I’m not gonna argue with her — she would clearly be able to kick my butt.