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Food: It’s Fish, Not Jaws

September 20, 2010
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In my line of work I run across a large section of the population that is literally terrified to cook fish. I can understand- a lot of fish is pricey and there’s less room for error with fish than with other proteins. If you over-cook your beef or chicken, it’s usually still edible, but if you trash an expensive fish you have to order pizza AND you feel like you’ve wasted money. But fish really doesn’t have to make you feel bad about yourself, I promise.

We’ll start off easy with this recipe for Marinated Sea Bass with Vegetables.  To address the price issue, I’ll recommend that if you don’t want to shell out for fresh fish you avail yourself of the now plentiful frozen vacuum packed options. For this recipe, I chose a piece of Chilean Sea Bass (if that’s too daunting you can substitute halibut or cod, but I’m recommending CSB because it’s not as delicate or easy to over-cook as other fish). For any of these frozen sealed options, the best way to thaw them is to put them (still in the package) in a small bowl and run cold water over them for 20 minutes. This is how professionals thaw previously frozen fish.

thawing

Next, marinade your fish. You can either buy a marinade that you like, or you can make one (recipe at bottom of post).

Let your fish sit in the marinade for at least 20 minutes, 30 is better. Because Chilean Sea Bass is an oily fish, you won’t need any oil to cook it with this marinade- another bonus point for fish.

marinading

This is basically a stir fry operation, so start by steaming whatever vegetables you’re going to want to add later (carrots, snap peas, mushrooms, sprouts, whatever). Then put these aside- you will warm them up later in the same pan in which you’ve cooked the fish. Fish won’t wait around once it’s done, which is why you want to get your vegetables dealt with first.

Cut the fish in equal sized chunks, then put them in a non stick pan, along with the marinade. Cook over low-medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring steadily. This will cause the marinade to thicken and stick to the fish. You’ll see the fish start to flake at the ends when it is approaching the right temperature (about 10 minutes).

marinade has reduced, fish starting to flake

When this happens, turn up the heat for the last minute of cooking time- the marinade will almost caramelize on your pieces. Remove the fish from the pan, leaving the marinade.

At this point, add your vegetables to the pan and finish them up in the sauce. I’m not really partial to rice, but if you like it, it makes a good accompaniment. I prefer to use a package of chinese noodles, cooked for a few minutes with the vegetables, or to forgo the starch altogether.

Put your vegetables and starch in your bowl, top with fish. Voila.

Thai Lime Ginger Marinade:

1/2 cup soy sauce

1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp ginger, grated

juice of two limes

Mix together and let sit for at least one hour before adding fish.

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