Legend has it that burning sage will rid your home of ghosts and negative energy… it also makes some really tasty fish. Just in time for Halloween, we pulled out the bamboo steamer and some fresh herbs for a killer fish dinner that’s light enough to leave room for alllll that Cheat Day candy.
2 8-10 oz bluefish fillets
1 lemongrass stalk, peeled and cut into 3″ pieces
1 small bunch fresh sage
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp freshly cracked salt
1 tsp freshly cracked pepper
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp Szechuan seasoning
So I haven’t actually purchased these parchment liners yet, but they’re definitely on my list and I’d recommend using something like it to keep the skin from sticking to the steamer (just oil didn’t quite cut it). You’ll also need a stock pot or sauce pan that your steamer will fit snugly on top of.
Fill your pot of choice about half way with cold water and 2 tsp of white vinegar, boil the water and then lower to medium heat. The vinegar is supposed to help keep the fish extra juicy and prevent over-cooking or drying out.
While waiting for the water to boil, rinse the fish fillets with cold water and pat dry. This is where we encounter the pin bones. Pin bones are the tiny, slippery, needle-like bones in fish like salmon, red snapper, and our bluefish. You can probably ask your fish monger to remove the pin bones for you, otherwise you will need a pair of needle-nose pliers to do it yourself – they’re way too slippery to remove by hand. I usually get pretty annoyed with this process… which is conveniently timed with The Boyfriend getting home from work, so he does most of the pin bone removal.
Once the bones are removed, you can cut the fillets in half – not required, but I like the smaller serving size and they fit in the steamer a little better too. Using a paper towel or basting brush, coat the steamer or parchment liner with olive oil. If you are just using the steamer, try to get the oil in all the cracks as well – this will make for easier clean up. In the bottom steamer basket, arrange the lemongrass pieces and sage leaves. For more lemongrass flavor, cut the stalk pieces in half lengthwise so you can peel apart more layers (optional). As the steam passes through this lower basket, it will add flavor to the fish fillets above.
Neatly arrange the fillets in the top basket so that they are not touching, if possible. Season each fillet with salt and pepper as well as a pinch each of coriander and Szechuan seasoning. Stack and close the basket and gently place on top of the pot. Steam for exactly 20 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure the water is just gently bubbling/simmering.
Serve immediately with Sriracha-mayo or sauce of choice.
Note: In the recipe I say to put the lemongrass and sage in the bottom basket, but in the picture it shows them in the same basket. This is because I used three large pieces of fish and did not have room for everything in one basket. This also worked well and still had the desired effect.