Miso and ginger braised Striped Bass

23 May

My husband’s father was a commercial diver, and my husband inherited his love of the ocean.  During times of stress (e.g. studying for the Bar exam), we often found each other sitting on the beach, our rods in holders, cold beers next to us as we listened to the great blue ocean lapping along the shore.

These days, the thought of going surf-casting with diaper bags, wipes, bathing suits, milk packets, “Oati-o’s” and respective blankies make my knees weak.  My head spins.  Instead of calm, lapping ocean, I imagine myself chasing after two kids running in separate directions, my frustration mounting as I wonder what was I thinking bringing the kids to such a dangerous place – they might fall into the ocean and drown!!!

I think I’ll pass on this opportunity until the kids can actually sit still for longer than five minutes.

Over the past weekend, my husband headed out surf-casting with his brother in search of some peace and quiet sans kids, my nagging, the compounding stress from work.  He returned relaxed, and with some exciting pictures of a striped bass, 34 inches long, 16 lbs caught by his brother.  I salivated, envisioning savory fillets, grilled, edges crispy served with a sprinkle of sea salt, pepper and lemon juice .  That vision quickly dissipated when he told me his brother would drop it off the next day after getting it cleaned.  Back to plan B for dinner…

As I was poking around my garden the next day, my brother-in-law came into my yard, his wheeled cooler in tow.  We opened the cooler to find the carcass of the fish resting on ice – the head almost as large as a football.  A large plastic bag held two large fillets of the fish – one with skin, and one without.  He figured I would take the fillet with the skin – which of course, I did.  I gratefully accepted the fillet which I promptly cut into thirds and refrigerated, as well as the carcass, which we buried deep into my vegetable garden.  Waste not, want not!

Tonight, I took a portion of the fillet, and put it on top of a sheet of aluminum foil – large enough to pull the two longer edges to tent loosely over the fillet, and long enough to pull upwards and fold all four pieces to form a large pouch.   I then prepared the poaching liquid.  I grated fresh ginger – about 1/8 inch, resulting in about 2 tablespoons of both grated ginger and liquid.  I took a stalk of green scallion, cut off the roots, and cut half into 2 inch pieces.  The other half, I chopped into thin pieces – basically mincing them.  I added a tablespoon of white miso into a small bowl, added half the ginger and juice, the minced scallions, as well as a tablespoon of mirin.  I then added a cup of water, mixing the ingredients well until the miso dissolved.

I pulled the foil edges upwards to create my pouch and carefully poured the liquid.  I garnished the top of the fillet with the long pieces of scallion and set the pouch aside.  I lit the gas grill outside, and once it heated up, I set the front and back burners on high, with the middle one on medium heat.  I put the fish packet above the middle burner row, shut the top, and let it cook for fifteen minutes, checking on occasion.

Once the fillet appeared cooked when the packet was opened, I carefully removed the fillet from the skin, and served in soup bowls with some of the cooking liquid spooned over the top.

I served this with a side of boiled new potatoes, and a soup of julienned daikon, sautéed in sesame oil, fresh shelled peas (courtesy of my daughter), roughly chopped scallions, seasoned with white pepper and soy sauce.

I love having fishermen in the family!

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