Signs of spring are everywhere in Alaska. This season, known as 'breakup' by many of us, means melting snow, longer days, and for some folks, fishing. The annual halibut and sablefish (black cod) season opened last week, and right now is a great time to take advantage of fresh fish recipes, like this favorite -- Emperor's Halibut.
Since Alaska produces more than 80% of the world's halibut, it's only natural that Alaskans love to cook it, but if you're new to the halibut, look for a firm, slightly-translucent flesh that doesn't smell "fishy." The meat is very dense, so a serving size is about the size of an adult's palm.
This recipe infuses cultures of the Far East and West, with spices and herbs that keep the fresh fish flavor but also add a hint of Asia.
Serves 4 hungry adults
2 lbs fresh halibut filets
¼ cup Shaoshing (rice cooking wine)
2 Tbs brown sugar
3 to 4 Tbs black beans. The paste will do as well.
½ cup soy sauce
A small pinch of fresh ground ginger
4 green onions
Pepper to taste
- In a non- reactive bowl (remember, glass or plastic - no metal!) mix wine, black beans, soy, and ginger.
- Add brown sugar to taste. The sugar will take the mixture from a tart, salty blend to a well-rounded flavor. Use less sugar if you want distinctive Asian flavor, or more to mellow the taste.
- Slice onions into three-inch pieces, then slice lengthwise, and slice again. This will produce some nice green ribbons for garnish. If you want to get fancy, when slicing lengthwise offset the knife about 30 degrees.; it will produce an elegant tapered look (just like the pros).
- Slice halibut in to serving-size sections, and place fish in a steamer and drizzle with the sauce. Don’t be stingy with sauce; just be sure and save a bit for serving. Toss onions onto the fish.
- Cook fish in a bamboo steamer with a lid over a medium heat. It will be done when the fish flakes easily with a fork.
- Place a dash of wine in your steaming water for that extra touch.
Note: If you do not have a bamboo steamer try a vegetable steamer and a pan of water for steam. At camp I even made this using a colander.
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