This dish is the kind that, with a little experience, many good home cooks could assemble from scratch, without consulting a recipe. The aromatic triumvirate of garlic, ginger and scallions is matched with soy sauce, rice vinegar and fish sauce. Shiitake mushrooms give substance and flavor, cornstarch thickens and sesame oil adds a taste of toasty richness.
You can spoon the sauce over the poached fish, but it will also work just as well with grilled, pan-seared or broiled fish, or on stir-fried strips of chicken breast, slivers of pork or beef, shrimp or scallops. Steamed rice could help soak up the sauce as well.
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 ⅓ pounds sea bass or gray sole fillets
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- ½ cup chopped scallions
- 7 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Vietnamese fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, or snipped chives (Optional)
Heat oven to 175 o F. Place chicken stock in a wok or skillet, and bring to a simmer. Cut fish into pieces about 3 inches square, place in stock, and simmer until just cooked, about 5 minutes. Use spatula to transfer to heatproof platter, cover loosely with foil, and place in oven. Drain and strain stock, and reserve. Wipe out pan with a clean paper towel.
Heat peanut oil in pan. Add garlic, ginger and scallions. Sauté briefly, and add mushrooms. Sauté until wilted. Add soy sauce, vinegar and fish sauce. Cook 30 seconds, then add reserved stock. Bring to a simmer. Dissolve cornstarch in 2 tablespoons cold water, and add, stirring. Simmer until sauce has thickened. Add sesame oil.
To serve, transfer fish to a shallow bowl and spoon mushroom sauce over the fish. Gransih with a scattering of with cilantro or chives. Serve hot.
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