Sunday, May 11, 2014

Delicate Steamed Dover Sole in Chinese Leek Broth

When we ordered the inspiration for this dish at Café China, a Szechuan restaurant in Midtown Manhattan, we were looking for something light that both sounded delicious and would assuage our guilt in ordering fried Chongqing Chicken.  

Maybe you don't think of Chinese food as healthy, light, and easy to make at home, but this dish will change your mind. The best part, we both agree, is the broth: an aromatic combination of Chinese condiments you should already have in your fridge (okay, so mirin is Japanese, whatever) scented by leek, ginger, and garlic. 

This dish is also a convenient weeknight dinner that doesn't require much planning ahead because it pairs well with different starches (rice, noodles, quinoa), and frozen fish defrosts way faster than frozen chicken.

Delicate Steamed Dover Sole in Chinese Leek Broth

Cooking Time
18 minutes

2 people who sneak butter into a steamed fish recipe

Chef's knife
Cutting board
Heavy-bottomed skillet with lid
Wooden or metal spoon

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 leek, white part only, julienned
3 tablespoons ginger, julienned
3 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
Kosher or sea salt
1/4 cup mirin
1/3 cup Shaoxing wine
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
~1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb. Dover sole fillets, each fillet rolled into a tube (you can substitute any mild, flaky fish such as cod or tilapia)
1 long horn pepper, cut into 1/4" rings (we don't bother seeding it, but you can if you want it less spicy)
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 big handful cilantro leaves, picked from stems
1. Heat butter in skillet over medium heat. Add leek, ginger, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until translucent and soft, about 3 minutes.

2. Add mirin, Shaoxing wine, and soy sauce. Raise heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low. Add Dover sole and peppers. Very lightly season the top of each rolled-up fillet with salt and pepper.

3. Cover skillet and steam fish for 5 minutes. Flip each rolled-up fillet and season again with a little more pepper. Replace lid and continue steaming until cooked through, about 5 minutes (you should be able to easily pierce each rolled-up fillet with a knife). If some rolls are done before the others, transfer them to a plate and return them to the skillet once the other rolls have finished cooking.

4. Drizzle with sesame oil and garnish with cilantro. Serve immediately with white rice or other starch. Spoon lots of broth onto each plate.

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