This evening was another of those meals that we really couldn’t be doing with. Whole Fish with Ginger and Scallions [recipe] seemed to be far too much trouble for a Monday evening, when really a baked potato with cheese would be the perfect antidote to a long winter day. After an epic trip to three fish counters with an extremely tired and stroppy toddler in tow, I managed to find a Tai Snapper. This was a closer relative to the Red Snapper called for in the recipe, than a whole trout, which was the only other whole fish that I could find.
When L got back from his exceedingly long work day, he had the not-so-envious task of cleaning and preparing the fish. We decided that the head and tail should go, along with the scales and fins. With a sink full of bleeding fish parts, we once again had the conversation that in 2008 we should go vegetarian, if we can make it that far.
The cavity inside the fish was stuffed with ginger root, and the whole fish was placed on a plate inside a steamer. After ten minutes or so, the flesh was white and opaque, signalling that the fish was completely cooked. It was topped with scallions cut into strips and a few tablespoons of tamari. Oil which had been heated to bubbling in a small saucepan was poured over the top of the fish, and the whole thing crackled and sizzled for a few seconds. That was a pleasant diversion from the norms of every day cooking, and it smelled pretty tasty.
Served with a portion of white rice, the fish was remarkably good. It was tender and succulent yet still firm. It was actually cooked to perfection; this is definitely a cooking method that I’d recommend. We couldn’t really detect the ginger taste infused within the fish, but there was a very good delicate flavour to the whole dish. The hot oil flash-cooked the scallions, mellowing their flavour and texture. L kindly removed all the skin and bones from my portion before I ate it, as I am somewhat squeamish.
In summary, this was one of the dishes that makes this whole 365 Recipes process a little less arduous. We would never have decided to cook this under ordinary circumstances, and would never have gone out to buy a $14 fish. The meal was pleasantly surprising, although the fish preparation factor pushes the effort level up a notch. If you bought fish that was already prepared, his would be an extremely easy dish. If it could work with a fillet of snapper that would be tremendous; no heads, tails, skin or bones. Almost like sushi, but cooked of course.
Tomorrow, we will be cooking Uptown Down-Home Chili. If I remember correctly the Uptown part comes from the use of import beer, all classy and that.