Written by Liz –
Eating out is probably my very favorite thing to do. I love to pick out a new restaurant, then go check out its neighborhood and decor, imagining myself living nearby and becoming a regular, noting coffee shops on the corner I might frequent in the morning and places to find new wines after work. I always ask the server what the chef recommends – after all, he is the expert. She is the one who knows what’s fresh, what’s done best in her kitchen.
I especially love small, family owned, neighborhood Chinese joints, where you can find dishes so authentic you could only dream of recreating them at home. On a recent visit to one such place, I promptly asked “What should I eat?” Chef sent several dishes: all traditional Chinese slightly tweaked to accommodate local ingredients and Chef’s recent culinary obsessions. My favorites were the Szechuan Lamb Loin in Traditional Orange Peel Sauce and the Braised Fresh Black Cod with Szechuan Chili Sauce. Chef gallantly shared his black cod recipe with me, which was 3 pages long and included ingredients I couldn’t pronounce! I immediately set about making a simpler version that’s also easy to cook (based on Chris’ fish packets recipe).
I love Szechuan cooking: really spicy but also a sweet or cooling element to balance it. In this recipe, you can adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to get just the right level of spice that you will love. Gourmet Chinese food at home! Also a great fish recipe if you’re eating fish on Friday.
Shanghai Steamed Black Cod with Summer Vegetables
Ingredients for 4 servings:
4 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
6 cloves garlic, chopped
Grated peel and juice from 1 Mandarin orange or tangerine
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup MAGGI Seasoning Sauce
1/4 cup sake or dry white wine
1 bunch green onions, half bunch sliced thinly lengthwise and other half diced for garnish
4 quarter-sized slices fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1 to 3 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 (4 to 5 ounces each) about 1-inch-thick Alaskan or Black Cod fish fillets (can use other white fish such as wild halibut, red snapper, orange roughy or talapia)
1 bunch thin asparagus spears, cut on diagonal into 2-inch pieces (about 2 1/2 cups total)
2 zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch circles (about 1 1/2 cups total)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds for garnish
PREHEAT oven to 450° F.
HEAT 1 tablespoon sesame oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes or until brown.
COMBINE remaining 3 tablespoons sesame oil, browned garlic, orange juice and grated peel, chicken stock, seasoning sauce, sake, thinly sliced green onions, ginger, brown sugar, chili flakes and cinnamon in large bowl. Mix well, as shown above.
ARRANGE four 12 x 13-inch pieces of foil on work surface. Divide asparagus and zucchini evenly down center of each foil sheet. Place one fish fillet over vegetables.
FOLD up foil sides to create small foil bowl. Pour about one-quarter cup of the sauce over fish and vegetables for each packet. Double fold top and ends to seal each packet, leaving room for heat circulation inside. Place on 15 x 10-inch jelly roll pan or rimmed baking sheet.
BAKE for 17 to 20 minutes or until fish is just opaque in center and vegetables are crisp-tender. Carefully open packets, allowing steam to escape away from you and let cool briefly. Using a spatula, gently push the fish and vegetables onto plate. Top with sauce, diced green onions and toasted sesame seeds. (This is also great served over rice.)
Fish packets are also great on the grill! Preheat grill to medium. Place packets on grill; cover and cook over indirect heat for 20 minutes or until fish is opaque in center and vegetables are crisp-tender. Remove from grill and open carefully.
More fish recipes:
No Mess Summer Fish Packets with Pesto
Lemon-Dill Salmon recipe
Looks great will try this one out for sure
Nice recipe, Liz! I doubled the orange peel/juice. Bursting with flavor!
This looks delicious thank you. Just a note, Orange Roughy in now on the “over fished” list and so all good Chefs are banning its use in their kitchens.
Im sure that there are alot more “over fished” fish and chefs have no trouble serving them up
Ericka Sanchez (@NibblesNFeasts)
I love this one!!