Cooking School: Steamed Fish

Posted by Brette in Food

This week on Martha’s cooking school segment, she and Sarah Carey steamed fish.  Since I don’t have bamboo steamers (which she used to make the steamed salmon), I decided to make the whole steamed fish. Well, except for the small fact that you can’t buy a whole fresh fish around here. And except for the fact that there seems to be some sort of fish shortage or crisis – all the stores have empty fish counters this week. I don’t know if there was some shipping problem or what, but something’s up. So I ended up buying some frozen mahi mahi pieces. A whole fish would have been too much for the two of us anyhow (kids won’t eat it!).

I was able to find lemon grass at my store (color me shocked) and I’ve never used it before. What an amazing scent it has! I cut that up, cut up some ginger and garlic and scallion and got some cilantro together. I put some under the fish and some on top. I sprinkled the fish sauce over it.

Ready to cook

Ready to cook

I made my fish in an oval bowl and put it in a large saute pan with boiling water in it. I covered it with foil. It took longer to cook than I expected – probably about 20-25 min and my pieces of fish were not more than an inch and a half thick. There was a large amount of broth in the bottom of the bowl.

Ready to eat

Ready to eat

I loved the way this tasted! Very flavorful. The fish was cooked perfectly (when it was finally cooked!). I served it with rice. We didn’t even squeeze the lime juice onto it, it had such a nice full flavor. I did feel the steaming process to be kind of a pain. It took a long time and it would have been a lot easier to pan fry the fish or grill it, but I did like how it became infused with all the flavors, so it is worthwhile to do it for that. It is an interesting cooking method – you don’t need any special equipment and it’s nice how it creates the flavorful broth.

I cannot imagine doing this with a whole fish. I was shaking my head through the segment as Martha was talking about how she loooooves to serve it whole with the head attached and doesn’t understand why people don’t like to see that. Same reason I prefer not to serve my roast chicken with a beak on the platter, Martha. I also don’t like bones and in my experience any time you bring a fish to the table with bones, some of those bones end up in your mouth.


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