Nobu Steamed Bass With Vegetables and Spicy Garlic Sauce

So when my wife and I were menu planning earlier in the week, we happened to come across this steamed fish entree from Nobu.  It isn’t in his cookbooks, but it looked like a hybrid between his Squid ‘Pasta’ With Light Garlic Sauce (Nobu: The Cookbook ,p 82) and Chicken And Prawns Spicy Garlic Don (Nobu West ,p. 203).  The dish we thought about making was Steamed Striped Bass With Vegetables and Spicy Garlic Sauce  found at: http://images.nymag.com/restaurants/articles/recipes/stripedbassginger.htm

Adjusting the dish for just two people called for:

Seasonings for the spicy garlic sauce

2 seabass fillets (branzino OR striped bass)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces assorted vegetables (asparagus, broccoli, haricots verts, onion, and green pepper) cut into  bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, sliced thin
1t + 7/8t chili garlic sauce (Lee Kum Kee brand)
1/4 cup flamed sake (“nikiri sake”)
2 T  light soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

boiling off the alcohol from the sake

 

As fate would have it, there was no branzino nor striped bass to be had so my wife picked up chilean seabass, which would probably work for

The seasoning mix just before adding the nikiri sake

this dish. Basically, the dish would be to season the fillets with 4:1 salt/pepper mix. Place the fish into heat proof bowls, sprinkle with sake and

The completed sauce, set aside for plating

then get it into the steamer for 12-15 minutes.

While the fish was being steamed, Matsuhisa-sama directs that the asparagus, broccoli, haricot verts need to be blanched quickly and then

a nice bell pepper for the vegetable sautee

 

about 6 oz of onion on the right; preparing to make the garlic slices

set aside.  In this case, my wife just wanted onions and bell pepper because she wanted to do a side of ginger sauteed broccolini with dinner.

lots of thin garlic slices to flavor the heated olive oil and to become chips for garnish

 

red bell pepper ready for the sautee

In the frying pan, I’d have to sautee the garlic slices in olive oil until golden on medium high heat and then reserving the garlic slices as

getting the pan to medium high heat to make the garlic flavored olive oil and chips

 

creating the garlic olive oil and chips garnish

‘chips’. At that point I could start sautee’ing the onion until semi clear and add in all the vegetables.  When the vegetables were just about

sauteeing the onions, then adding in the bell pepper

done, Chef Matsuhisa instructs the addition of chili garlic sauce, sautee a little bit again and then added the nikiri sake, soy sauce and then correct the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Adding in the seasoning base to blend with the flavored oil

In this case, I would probably add a combined chili garlic sauce, nikiri sake and soy mix and then sautee the vegetables again.  I needed to adjust the seasoning with 1/8 t of the 4:1 salt/pepper mix. Now it was just a matter of plating the vegetables, topping it with the fish and the

plating the vegetables with the reserved pan sauce and garlic chips awaiting the steamed seasbass

dividing the remaining pan sauce over the two plated dishes.  The last step would to garnish the top of the fish with the garlic ‘chips’.

From the top left corner: Hiyayakko with Matsuhisa Dressing, Steamed Seabass,Sauteed Vegetables, Spicy Garlic Sauce, rice

Upon tasting the dish, we were surprised how well the chili garlic sauce had been balanced with nikiri sake, soy and garlic olive oil.  The ‘pan sauce’ complemented all the ingredients.  I will note that a sweet onion was used instead of regular yellow onion, so that perhaps rounded the flavors of the dish.  This was a really easy dish to do, and perhaps this could be a go to steamed fish entree for my wife.,

Observation

It should be interesting to note that the spicy garlic don sauce (for 2 servings) from Nobu West is:

Salt and freshly ground black pepper
a little cornstarch/water slurry to thicken the sauce at the end
olive oil
1/2 t chili-garlic paste (Lee Kum Kee brand)
2 T sake
2 T sake soy (3 T nikiri sake, 1 T + 3/4 t soy)

That sauce is assembled after cooking the ingredients in the olive oil.  The sauce begins by sauteeing the chili garlic sauce in a little olive oil and  then the cooking pan is deglazed with the sake.  At that point, the sake soy is added, blended in and the starch slurry is added to gently thicken that sauce.  Finally, all the rest of the ingredients are added back to the pan and tossed together.

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