I owned a bamboo steamer for ten years and never once got around to using it. When I finally decided to break it out the other day, it was full of spiderwebs and smelled faintly of mildew--one too many years in the basement, I guess. So I treated myself to a new one--at $9.95, I figured I couldn't go wrong. I had bookmarked the Steamed Cod with Caramelized Onion, Ginger and Scallions from Asian Flavors of Jean-Georges. It's a book I've had in my Amazon "saved items" queue ever since I discovered it at the library. One day my finger will slip and it will end up in my "shopping cart items--to buy now" queue, but until then, I'll keep trying not to splatter up the pages of the library copy.
I'm not sure if I rigged this up correctly, but it seemed to work just fine. I lined the baskets with parchment paper--if you have lettuce leaves, use those. I set the steamer in my cast iron pan, filled it halfway with water, brought the water to a boil, then steamed for 10 minutes or so, adding water when necessary to keep the level up.
The finished dish, served with a stir-fry of baby zucchini, shitake mushrooms, and snow peas, was clean and light, the fish was exceptionally moist, and the flavors were surprisingly nuanced despite the few ingredients and ease of preparation--this is by far the easiest recipe in this cookbook. I'll be using this steamer again in the very near future.
Steamed Cod with Caramelized Onion, Ginger and Scallions
From Asian Flavors of Jean-Georges
1/4 c. plus 2 T peanut oil (or any neutral flavored oil)
2 medium onions, sliced
One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, julienned
Four 6-ounce thick cod fillets (or any white-fleshed fish)
2 T sesame oil
1/4 c. slivered scallions
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1. Heat 1/4 c. of the peanut oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until almost smoking. Add the onions and brown, but do not cook through, about 2 minutes. Toss in the ginger and remove from the heat.
2. Prepare a steamer. Season cod with salt and cayenne pepper, then top each piece with the onion-and-ginger mixture. Steam until a thin-bladed knife pierces through the flesh easily, about 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat the sesame oil and remaining 2 T peanut oil in the same skillet in which you cooked the onions, until the oil smokes (watch this one--I burned my first batch of oil). Transfer the cod from the steamer to serving plates. Top each piece with some scallions, then pour on the hot sesame-peanut oil mixture. Top the fish with cilantro, season to taste with soy, and serve.