Steaming delivers tender fish dish from new Milk Street cookbook

Chris Ross
The San Diego Union-Tribune

Following up on his James Beard Award-winning cookbook “Milk Street: Tuesday Nights” in 2018, Christopher Kimball’s latest book is “Milk Street: The New Rules,” which challenges us to rethink the way we cook.

Kimball is one of the co-founders of America’s Test Kitchen and in 2016 created the Boston-based Milk Street, which includes a TV show, cooking school and magazine. In the cookbook, he offers 75 new rules that he says will simplify time in the kitchen and at the same time improve the results.

The rule for this steamed fish recipe is “Cook Gentle, Season Strong: A gentle, even heat is best for keeping the delicate flesh of fish tender. Steaming is ideal because the heat surrounds the fish, cooking it from all sides without movement.”

Steamed Fish With Shiitake Mushrooms

Note: Lean white fish is mild in flavor, so before steaming the fillets, we season them boldly with garlic, ginger, oyster sauce and fiery-sweet sriracha. For a little spice, drizzle the plated fish fillets with chile oil before sprinkling with the scallions. Or sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Serve with steamed or stir-fried greens and jasmine rice. Don’t uncover the pot before 8 minutes of steaming has elapsed. Opening the lid releases steam and cools the pot. Makes 4 servings.

3 tablespoons oyster sauce

1 tablespoon Sriracha

1 tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral oil

8 medium garlic cloves, finely grated

1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger

3 tablespoons soy sauce, divided

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Four 6-ounce skinless cod, haddock or halibut fillets (each about 1-inch thick)

8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon packed light or dark brown sugar

2 scallions, thinly sliced

In a shallow bowl or pie plate, whisk together the oyster sauce, Sriracha sauce, oil, garlic, ginger, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add the fillets and turn to coat, gently rubbing in the sauce. Add the mushrooms and toss until evenly coated. Marinate at room temperature for about 10 minutes.

Place a steamer basket in a large Dutch oven. Add enough water to fill the bottom of the pot without touching the basket. Remove the basket. Cover the pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high.

Meanwhile, mist the steamer basket with cooking spray. Arrange the fish in an even layer in the basket and top the fillets with the mushrooms, evenly arranging them. Return the basket to the pot, cover and steam over medium until the fish flakes easily, 8 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the vinegar, sugar, the remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1/4 cup water. When the fish is done, use a thin metal spatula to transfer the fillets and mushrooms to a platter. Sprinkle with the scallions and serve with the sauce on the side.

Excerpted from “Milk Street: The New Rules” by Christopher Kimball. Used with permission of Little, Brown and Co., New York. All rights reserved.