It’s been a busy week and so I thought I’d do another steamed fish recipe for supper tonight (26 Apr 2012). The dish I chose to do might be considered an amalgam of Nobu’s Steamed Chilean Seabass with Black Bean Sauce and Steamed Dover Sole with Spicy Black Bean Sauce from Nobu: The Cookbook. An online version of the recipe can be found here –
Indeed, Matsuhisa-sama mentions that he uses Dover sole with just the black bean sauce, so I thought, why not retrofit the spicy black bean sauce to the chilean seabass? So from his cookbook, he mixes up 2 tablespoons of black bean sauce with 1 tablespoon of the chinese spicy bean sauce – and for the chilean seabass I bought, I doubled the amount. It’s actually a pretty straight forward
recipe (though I skipped the extra sake). On the side, I shaved some peeled ginger and then julienned it as finely as I could. I also got a package of chives cleaned (whichI bought at Whole Foods, Newtonville, MA )and instead of cutting them into 1 1/2″ lengths, I mode the decision to finely mince them. I portion out the chilean seabass fillet (my wife wanted a smaller piece), seasoned them with about a teaspoon of 4:1 salt/pepper mix and got them into the steaming plate. I poured over two tablespoons of sake and then covered the fillets with the fermented black
bean/spicy bean sauce mixture and layered on the shredded ginger (Nobu has the ginger sitting in
cold water for application AFTER cooking, but I thought it would save time by putting in the ginger during the cooking process to lessen its bite). The fish was covered and placed into a steamer for 12 minutes on high heat.
Once that was done, I got the fish out, transferred the pieces to the serving plate and spooned out a little of the cooking juices over the fish (In retrospect, I’ll add at least two more tablespoons of sake the next time I make this dish, the amount of cooking liquid was on the low side). I ‘blanketed’ the top of the fish with the minced chives. I mixed up 6 tablespoons of olive oil with 2 teaspoons of sesame oil and got it smoking hot. Once the oil was ready, I carefully spooned about 3 tablespoons of the hot oil over the minced chives (remember, the julienned ginger was underneath the chives) and watched the whole thing ‘sizzle’!
I think, in the future, I’ll be using minced chives/scallions if I’m going to be doing hot oil applications over them. Just using spears doesn’t seem the get the real dramatic sizzle/cooking finishing effect. My wife and I were pleasantly surprised by the way the dinner turned out. We were both concerned that the mix of fermented black bean and spicy bean paste/sauces would not cook through and the dish would have a lingering raw bean-like flavor. The other concern we had was that the amount of chinese tobanjang would be overpoweringly spicy (recall the amount used by Iron Chef Chen in his dishes)/ Instead, we found a deeply satisfying umami effect that enhanced the natural juicy ‘sweetness’ of the chilean seabass and a light to moderate spicy note the balance the other flavors in the dish.