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The Fish Market

Let Steam Do the Cooking for You

May 29, 1986|ISAAC CRONIN and PAUL JOHNSON | Cronin and Johnson are co-authors of "The California Seafood Cookbook."

Steaming foods of all kinds is rapidly gaining popularity in America. Most Americans are introduced to steaming by the Chinese who cook a wide range of dishes over boiling water, everything from fish to dim sum.

Steaming food is one of the healthiest and tastiest ways to cook. No extra fat is added to the food during cooking and most foods come out moist and juicy. All you need to steam is a cooking vessel to hold the water, a rack to hold the food and a cover. A wok is ideal because it is set up for steaming. You can use a perforated metal insert and lay food on top of it, or fill the wok with a bamboo steamer basket and set a plate inside the basket.

The following recipe is from Bruce Cost's "Ginger East to West: A Cook's Tour" published by Aris Books. STEAMED ROCKFISH

1 (1 1/2-pound) whole rockfish, cleaned, with head left on

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon dry Sherry or Chinese rice wine

1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil

Dash sugar

1 tablespoon finely shredded ginger root

2 green onions, cut julienne in 2-inch lengths

Cilantro sprigs

Rinse fish and dry thoroughly. Score fish lightly at 1-inch intervals with sharp knife. Rub salt over entire fish. Combine soy sauce, wine, oil and sugar. Set aside.

Pour enough water into steamer or wok to come within 1 inch of cooking rack. Cover and bring to boil. Place fish on heatproof platter. Pour sauce over fish. Decorate fish with ginger and green onion shreds. Steam 12 to 15 minutes or until fish is just firm to touch. Serve garnished with cilantro. Makes 2 to 4 servings.

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