January 08, 2014

Orange Ginger Zander

Happy 2014 from Always In The Kitchen! Shall we start the new year with some fish?

This is a slight adaptation of Anne Lindsay's Teriyaki Orange Fish Fillets (from Lighthearted Everyday Cooking). I note that the amount of soy sauce called for in the recipe was virtually undetectable in the finished dish, and recommend that if you want an actual teriyaki flavour, you will need to substantially increase the soy. I'm going to try it with triple soy next time, to see if it can earn the "teriyaki" in the name. I might add a little sesame oil, too, just to enhance the Japanese flavour profile, but even as is, it is a very nice dish.

You can use any mild fish for this - I used zander (also known as pike-perch) but halibut, basa, sole, or tilapia would all work nicely. The fish cooks very quickly, so do not start cooking until your accompanying dishes are almost ready to serve.

For the orange component, I used clementines (zest and freshly squeezed juice). I wish I had kept some long strands of zest for garnish, and I will next time, just for the prettiness of presentation.

Orange Ginger Zander

Serves 4
Total Prep & Cooking Time: 12 minutes

4 boneless fish fillets (or eight small ones)
zest from an orange (or clementine)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons finely minced onion
1 tablespoon less-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon sugar (may not be needed if the juice is very sweet)
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

Combine zest, juice, onion, soy sauce, ginger, and sugar (if needed) in a small bowl. Pour half into a skillet that is just large enough to accommodate the fish fillets in a single layer. Lay the fish in the sauce, and pour the remaining sauce over the fish. In a separate bowl, combine the water and cornstarch and stir until smooth.

Turn the burner to high and bring the liquid just to a boil. Immediately turn the heat down to a bare simmer and cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid. Allow the dish to simmer for about 5 minutes (it's okay to peek, just try not to let too much steam evaporate), or until the fish is just cooked (it may be quicker if you have really thin fillets).

Remove the fish to a plate, and bring the orange sauce to a boil again. Stir the cornstarch and water to ensure it is smooth, and then add the mixture to the orange stirring well. It will thicken almost immediately, but keep stirring until the sauce regains some of its translucence, to ensure that the cornstarch doesn't leave a raw flavour. Spoon the sauce over the fillets, and serve immediately. Rice is a lovely bed for the orange sauce, but gingered noodles would also be delicious.

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