Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Steamed Yellowtail Snapper

I was [sent] on a mission to the international market on the way home yesterday, to get a fish to roast for dinner. You know, a nice Italian roast fish, the one stuffed with lemon and rosemary. And I happened upon a beautiful two-pound Yellowtail Snapper and that snapper just did not want to be roasted with lemon and rosemary. It was fairly screaming "Steam me!"

What is it with the market on Monday afternoons? I ran into fellow restaurateurs Tom and Joy Frerotte from Chop Stick Cafe and Frank d'Alessio from Winchester City Bagel. After chatting with them, I wandered out with banana leaves, lemongrass, and baby Shanghai bok choy as well as the fish.

The beast in question with all the aromatics: some very ratty cilantro from last week's cellophane noodle salad, lemongrass, ginger, and garlic.

Vertical slashes along the sides hold ginger and garlic slivers; the cavity is stuffed with cilantro stems (more flavorful than the leaves) and lemongrass. Lots of minced lemongrass, garlic, and ginger that will make a slurry with olive oil, salt, and pepper to rub over the sides of the fish.

Sushi rice on a banana leaf with more lemongrass stalks and the bouquet garni (mostly buried in the rice) of cilantro stems, ginger, and lemongrass that I cooked the rice with.

The before shot of the fish (tail removed) and bok choy piled around.

All wrapped up and ready for 40 minutes in a 425F oven. I prefer to use string rather than strips of banana leaf: string is much easier to tie. The packet does not have to be hermetically sealed; it just needs to contain enough moisture and steam to cook the fish. Small gaps here and there are OK. Note: you'll need more than one set of hands to tie the packet. Thanks, honey!

And the after shot. I just loved the rice all flavored with the aromatics and the juices from the fish.

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