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Poached Striped Bass with Bok Choy and Broken Ginger Dressing

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Serves 4

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 123

Poached in celery, fennel, and fresh ginger juice, these meaty striped bass fillets have a subtle yet delicious flavor. The ginger dressing won’t be emulsified or smooth, but its fantastic taste more than makes up for its “broken” appearance.

  • 1 5-1/2-inch piece fresh ginger (5 oz.), peeled
  • 1 celery heart with leaves (about 1 lb.), trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large fennel bulb (about 1 lb.), trimmed, cored, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 quart-size Ziploc storage or freezer bags
  • 4 5- to 6-oz. skinless striped bass fillets (about 1 inch thick)
  • 4 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 small shallot, minced (3 Tbs.)
  • 5 Tbs. grapeseed oil or sunflower oil
  • 2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. plain rice vinegar
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/4 lb. baby bok choy (about 4), root ends removed and leaves separated
  • 6 medium scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced on the diagonal

Finely grate enough ginger on a rasp grater to measure 1 Tbs. (about 1-1/2 inches); set aside. Coarsely chop the remaining ginger and purée in a blender with the celery, fennel, and cup water, about 2 minutes. Strain through a large fine sieve over a medium bowl, pressing hard on the solids with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible; discard the solids. Stir 3/4 tsp. salt into the vegetable juice until dissolved. Divide the juice among the 4 bags. Put 1 fish fillet and 1 sprig of parsley in each bag. Seal the bags, pressing out as much air as possible, and massage the fish to coat it all over. Refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours to season the fish.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the reserved finely grated ginger, the shallot, 3 Tbs. of the grapeseed oil, the soy sauce, vinegar, olive oil, and red pepper flakes until just combined (the dressing will not be emulsified). Season to taste with salt.

Fill a 4-quart pot with 3 inches of water and clip a deep-fat, probe, or instant-read thermometer to the side of the pot. Heat the water slowly over low heat to 140°F, about 15 minutes. Put the bags of fish in the water (the tops of the bags can stick out) and cook, maintaining a water temperature of 135°F to 145°F, until the center of the fish registers 130°F to 135°F on an instant-read thermometer (open the bags to check), 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the bags to a rimmed baking sheet and let sit for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring often, until golden, about 1 minute. Add the bok choy and a pinch of salt, cover, raise the heat to medium, and cook undisturbed for 5 minutes, or until the bok choy is crisp-tender. Uncover, stir in the scallions, and remove from the heat.

Divide the bok choy mixture among 4 dinner plates. Using scissors, snip off one corner of each bag and drain and discard the liquid. Open each bag and cut down the center perpendicular to the seal to expose the fish. Using a spatula, lift the fish from the bags and place on top of the bok choy. Spoon the dressing over the fish and the bok choy and serve.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 370; Fat (g): fat g 26; Fat Calories (kcal): 230; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 3; Protein (g): protein g 29; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 6; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 14; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 830; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 115; Fiber (g): fiber g 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I got a celery root instead of celery heart, didn't write it down on my list correctly, and it still turned out delicious with my son's striper bass catch.

This is truly outstanding. A restaurant quality recipe without the work. Couldn't get Striped Bass so I used Black Cod (or Butterfish). Timing was 15 minutes to cook and 5 to rest. Made the dressing earlier in the day when I made the marinade so it all came together quickly once ready to cook. I found the ginger/fennel/celery juice quite overpowering in smell and was concerned about the flavor being too much for the delicate fish, but it really adds a light flavor to the final product. There is a typo in the instructions - it calls for the "remaining 2T olive oil" to cook the bok choy with, but it's supposed to read 2T grapeseed oil. I usually saute my bok choy with the stalks going in first and the leaves last, but this method was so much easier and the bok choy was cooked perfectly. I could drink the dressing it's so delicious.

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