Iron Chef Blogger Challenge: Alcohol!

This week we finished a full rotation of the Iron Chef Blogger Challenge! It was back to Sarah to pick the ingredient, and she chose alcohol. It could be any variety, as long as you didn’t just pour and drink it.

I had been planning on making Chinese food for Sunday dinner anyway, so it worked out well. I decided to make these Soy Sauce Fish Fillets, from Simple Chinese Cooking by Kylie Kwong. You can pick from a lot of different types of fish, I chose salmon. The fish is poached in a Red Master Stock, which is primarily sherry and soy sauce. I had never poached anything before, so it seemed like a good choice.

You can see my ingredients below. The recipe calls for both light and dark soy sauce. I bought some dark soy sauce at a nearby Asian grocery store. I had read online that Kikkoman is all light soy sauce. If we’re all being honest with each other, I’m not sure I could tell a color difference, so I may have used all one or the other.

I had to do a lot of ingredient substitution… you have a choice of shao hsing wine or sherry (I already had sherry). The recipe calls for sesame oil, which I didn’t have (I threw some sesame seeds in the stock though) as well as star anise and a cinnamon quill, which I couldn’t find (I used Chinese five spice powder and a pinch of ground cinnamon instead).

All in all, it turned out great. I’m not sure the bok choy was really necessary, especially since I had also made some sweet and sour tomatoes for an extra vegetable. The salmon had a really fantastic texture, and so much flavor from the stock. It seemed to be a big hit with Travis as well. Also, it turns out that poaching really isn’t that hard. Who knew!

Soy Sauce Fish Fillets

4 fish fillets (about 3.5 ounces each)
1 bok choy, core removed

Red Master Stock:
6 cups cold water
3/4 cup shao hsing wine or dry sherry
1/2 cup dark soy sauce
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 cup ginger slices
2 spring onions (scallions), trimmed and cut in half crosswise
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
2 star anise
1 cinnamon quill
2 strips fresh orange zest

Place all stock ingredients in a wide, deep pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 40 minutes to allow flavors to infuse.

Lower fish into simmering stock and cover with parchment paper to be sure it is fully submerged. Poach fish gently for exactly two minutes; there should be no more than an occasional ripple breaking the surface. Immediately remove pan from the stove and allow fish to steep in the stock for 5 minutes to complete the cooking process.

Meanwhile, separate bok choy leaves and wash thoroughly. Add bok choy to a saucepan of boiling salted water and blanch for 30 seconds or until almost tender. Drain immediately.

Using a slotted spoon, gently remove fish from stock and transfer to a serving bowl. Spoon 2/3 cup of the master stock, along with some whole spices and aromatics, over the fish. Top with bok choy and serve immediately.


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