Growing up, pretty much any time I ate fish it was prepared in one of two ways: steamed whole, then drenched with julienned ginger, scallions and soy sauce. Or, pan-fried whole, then drenched with spicy, garlicky bean sauce. Later on, I would grow to love dipping fried fish sticks into ketchup and savoring every juicy bite of a Cajun-seasoned catfish fillet. But at the beginning, it was all about whole. Head, tail, cheeks, eyes, fins—the whole shebang.
All too often, I hear the same question from home cooks: what do I do with fish? Not terribly much, is usually my answer. And as soon as you bring your catch home. But while most of us know that fresh fish is best at its freshest, the simple feat of cooking it deliciously has evaded some. So I’m going to share my latest favorite preparation, an unlikely hybrid of hearty winter vegetables and summery lightness.
Wild local fish like flounder, stripers and bluefish are in season — all good stuff, in my opinion, to steam whole, Chinese style. This weekend as I was gathering ingredients for a 6-person dinner party, I familiarized myself with another: the wild local porgy. A small fish by nature (not many grow over 6 lb, according to this fact sheet), its mild, sweet flavor lends itself well to a light preparation such as steaming. Once cooked, its flesh was moist … Read More