Steamed Fish and Miso Cabbage

Why, hello, Mister Fish! I made steamed fish for dinner the other night.

It was $2.29 per pound at the new Asian Supermarket. I think it was black bass. This big guy was around $3.25, quite an affordable price.

I prepared it in my usual way for Chinese steamed fish.

Rinse it out and let it sit in some salty water for 30 or so minutes, then take it out and dry it off.

Stab the sides a few times and stuff them with ginger, then line the bottom of the pan with ginger and cover the top of the fish with ginger as well. Stuff the cavity with ginger. There’s always a lot of ginger going on. It imparts subtle flavoring, and I haven’t yet found a threshold for ‘too much ginger’ in a steamed fish. You can use other herbs, but I’ve generally always got ginger on hand.

After The Gingering, pour on a few glugs of soy sauce and dry vermouth. Then let it steam, covered, for 20 or so minutes.

It came out pretty well thanks to a tip Third Auntie gave me to tell when a fish is done – when they eyeball gets all opaque.

Fish eyes are pretty useful. You can also tell freshness by how clear the eye looks. My fish had the clearest looking eye of them all. These were fish that were already dead and sitting on top of ice, not fresh fish. In which case, just get the most active looking fish you can.

I hastily whipped up a veggie dish on the fly. Cabbage + bean sprouts + miso paste. That’s it. Really simple and quick. It had mixed reactions, but I really enjoyed it. Albany John thought it was too sour, but I couldn’t really pick up anything very sour. It just tasted like miso to me (i.e., awesome!).
I think he may not have enjoyed it as much since I bought a new miso, a darker/redder miso, which isn’t as sweet as the white/shiro miso Albany John normally likes. Slick didn’t mention anything, but killed the leftovers later that night, so I think he didn’t hate it.
Just cook some chopped cabbage in a pan, toss in bean sprouts, let them cook a little bit together, then plop in some miso paste and cook a few more minutes. I didn’t cook them for long, as I like my veggies on the crunchy side, and not limp and soggy.

While he may not have been crazy over the cabbage, the mister gave dinner a thumbs up!

Here’s what the fleshy fillet part of the fish looked like (we were mostly finished at this point). The fish itself was nice and firm – it was a pretty meaty white fish. The belly flesh of the fish was slightly bloody/iodine-y tasting, which I didn’t much care for, but there wasn’t a whole lot of belly flesh any way. Albany John and Slick enjoyed dipping bits of fish into the “drippins”, which was the saucy stuff left over in the steamer pan. Basically, mellowed out soy sauce + briny, fishy goodness.

Albany John and I are well paired when it comes to whole fish consumption. He really enjoys the head of the fish, while I prefer the tail. The head and cheeks of fish are just a bit too intensely flavored for me. Albany John gave Slick a cheek, and Slick was in heaven. I was a hog and didn’t share the tail, which I enjoy because it’s a little more gelatinous in texture and subtle in flavor, and it’s fun picking through the little bones of the fish tail.

  1. llcwine said:

    yum….used to catch those fish all the time growing up on Long Island. Very tasty in deed.

  2. we NEED an asian supermarket in Schenectady.

    wanna go into business?

  3. Freakin' awesome. Love whole fish, and that eyeball trick is a good one!

  4. Grace said:

    when i see an opaque eyeball, i don't say “dinner's ready!” i say “that dish isn't for me”–but good for you! 🙂

  5. Talita said:

    I love fish! Love the white meat!

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