Steamed Rockfish with Thai Citrus

Infused with intense aromatics that are tamed with a hint of coconut oil, this whole-fish showstopper is swimming in bright Thai flavor. Rockfish are native to the Pacific; substitute sustainably caught red snapper, if needed.

Active Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 10 mins


  • 1 medium shallot

  • 5 fresh green peppercorns

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled

  • 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled

  • 1 (2-inch) piece fresh turmeric, peeled

  • 1/2 lemongrass bulb, cut into thin rounds (about 1 tablespoon)

  • 3 makrut lime leaves, thinly sliced

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon palm sugar or granulated sugar

  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon coconut oil, divided

  • 2 medium-size sour oranges, juiced (about 1/2 cup juice) (see Note)

  • 3 (8-ounce) bunches fresh spinach, washed, stems removed

  • 2 (1 1/2- to 2-pound) whole fish (such as rockfish), cleaned and scaled

  • Cooked jasmine rice, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Place shallot, peppercorns, garlic, ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, lime leaves, salt, and sugar in a food processor, and pulse until finely minced, about 10 times. Heat 3 tablespoons coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add shallot mixture, and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl; stir in orange juice. Set aside.

  2. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon coconut oil in skillet over medium-high. Add spinach, and cook, stirring often, until just wilted, about 1 minute.

  3. Place half of wilted spinach in a 13- x 9-inch glass baking dish. Place fish on top of spinach. Tuck remaining wilted spinach around fish. Spread orange juice mixture evenly over fish and into fish cavities. Cover dish with parchment paper and aluminum foil.

  4. Bake in preheated oven until fish is just cooked through, 40 to 50 minutes. Serve with jasmine rice.


Substitute 6 tablespoons fresh orange juice and 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice if sour oranges are not available.

Suggested Pairing

Dry, citrusy Riesling.

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