At Kato in Los Angeles, Best New Chef Jonathan Yao’s modern takes on Taiwanese dishes include this delicate Steamed Fish with Soy Broth, which balances aromatics like ginger and scallion with the seafood’s mellow sweetness. Yao finishes the delicate steamed fish with a pour of hot oil, which gently cooks the scallion garnish, releasing its aroma. While you’ll only need a couple of teaspoons of the Fortified Soy Sauce, we loved having it around to enrich marinades and noodle dishes. The electric-green ginger-and-scallion oil improves everything it touches, from salad dressings to cold noodles.
2 tablespoons sake
2/3 cup water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons Fortified Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar, divided
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 1/2 pound skin-on black sea bass, snapper, or branzino, skinned and deboned, cut into 4 fillets
1 (2-inch) piece fresh young ginger, peeled and cut into very thin strips
1 cup canola oil
6 scallions (green tops only), cut into thin strips
Fresh coriander flowers
4 teaspoons Ginger-Scallion Oil
How to Make It
Heat a small saucepan over high 30 seconds. Add sake, and cook until reduced by half, about 1 minute.
Prepare an ice bath. Add 2/3 cup water, soy sauce, Fortified Soy Sauce, fish sauce, and 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar to saucepan, and bring to a gentle simmer over medium-high. Simmer 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook, without stirring, until mixture is translucent amber in color, about 1 minute and 30 seconds. Plunge saucepan into ice bath to prevent additional reduction. Set soy broth aside. (Rewarm gently before serving.)
Stir together salt and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle over fish fillets; refrigerate 15 minutes. Prepare a bamboo steamer over medium-low. (Make sure the water in the pot is gently boiling.)
Rinse fish under cold water and pat dry. Place each fillet on a piece of parchment paper; top evenly with ginger strips. Place fish on parchment paper in a single layer in steamer. Cover and steam until opaque, about 12 minutes. Meanwhile, heat canola oil in a small skillet over medium-high until just smoking.
Transfer fish to a wire rack set inside a large rimmed baking sheet; discard parchment paper. Top fillets evenly with scallions, reserving some for garnish. Spoon about 1/4 cup hot canola oil over each fillet. (You should hear sizzling and smell the scallions immediately. The scallions should keep their green color.)
To serve, place a scallion-topped fillet on each of 4 plates; garnish with coriander flowers and a few raw scallion strips. Pour about 1/4 cup warm soy broth around each fillet; drizzle each with 1 teaspoon Ginger-Scallion Oil.
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