Using steam to cook sablefish may seem counterintuitive (sablefish has incredible skin that gets bacon-crisp in a skillet), but the gentle moist heat keeps the fish tender and infuses it with lots of flavor. This recipe exemplifies true Cantonese cooking at its core: simplicity, freshness, and balance.
- 1 portion sablefish (10 to 12 ounces) cut into 2 pieces
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine (shaoxing) or dry sherry
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced on an angle
- 1 tablespoon finely julienned ginger (thin matchsticks)
- 1 small red chile, thinly sliced (optional)
- Cilantro sprigs for garnish
- Steamed rice for serving
PREP THE FISH AND SAUCE
In a medium, shallow, heatproof bowl (choose one that will fit into a deep skillet snugly) place the fish skin side down. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, Chinese rice wine, sugar, and sesame oil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Pour the mixture over the fish and top with half of the scallions, all of the ginger, and red chile if using.
STEAM THE FISH
Crumple 3 (4-inch) sheets of aluminum foil to make 3 (1-inch) balls and arrange them in a large deep skillet. Add 1 inch of water. Place the bowl into the skillet, setting it on the foil balls. Cover and bring to a boil. Steam the fish until it is opaque and flakes easily with a fork, about 8 minutes.
Carefully lift the bowl from the skillet. Serve the fish over rice, spooning the sauce over top. Garnish with cilantro and the remaining scallions. Enjoy!
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Pair it Up
Super crisp and light, Japanese rice lager is a perfect choice for Asian dishes. Choose an off-dry riesling for a wine pairing to echo the slight sweetness of the sauce.
Level it Up
Steam the fish with half of the ginger, scallions, and chile, then fry the rest in 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil for a sizzling restaurant-style finish.
Change it Up
This recipe halves beautifully for single servings. Be sure to use a smaller bowl and skillet.
Lighten it Up
With little added fat, it doesn’t get much lighter than this. Add some nutrient-dense baby bok choy to the fish while steaming for freshness.
Know Your Cook
Culinary Director Grace Parisi is a cook, writer and cookbook author. Formerly the Senior Test Kitchen Editor at Food & Wine Magazine and Executive Food Director at TimeInc Books, her work has appeared in Cooking Light, Health, O Magazine, Epicurious, Fitness, Today, Serious Eats, Martha Stewart, and many more. She’s the author of more than 6 books, among them The Portlandia Cookbook and Get Saucy, which was nominated for a James Beard award for Best Single Subject Cookbook.