I am lucky to have a boss who fishes in the Pacific Ocean off Half Moon Bay.
If I’m lucky, I sometimes get to share in the catch.
So far I’ve had Dungeness Crab once and Lingcod a couple times.
Last week he brought in 3 small-ish Quillback Rockfish he’d caught over the weekend.
He described how his wife usually prepares whole fish, and not wanting to disappoint, I knew I had to do something with them.
Now, I can’t remember the last time I had to scale a fish. Maybe when I was 10?
When I was little my Dad and I used to go fishing fairly often. But, I almost never caught anything. I do remember having to clean a mess of bluegills or crappies at least once.
Anyway, I cut off their significant spines (they aren’t called Quillback Rockfish for nothing!) with a kitchen shears , got out the paring knife, and gamely started scraping off the scales. As the scales flew everywhere in our kitchen, I remembered why we used to do this in our basement sink.
Eventually got them as scale-less as I could manage, put them in a dish, covered them inside and out with minced ginger, scallions, and cilantro. Poured on some rice wine and sprinkled with kosher salt.
By this time the steamer pot on the stove was chugging away nicely at a low simmer, so I lowered the dish with the fish in, and covered it up.
At about the same time I minced some garlic, ginger, and scallions for seasoning the greens. Started a pan for that, briefly sauteed the seasoning herbs, and added the chard stems. As soon as they had begun to cook, I added chard leaves, soy sauce, rice wine, and a bit of chicken stock, and covered them to steam.
After 15 minutes I checked the fish, and the seemed done. Smelled wonderful!
Briefly heated some sesame oil, added scallions and garlic, and then poured over the plated fish.
Chard was about done, so I plated that up, along with some steamed rice.
Boy, what a tasty meal!
The fish was a bit bony, so you did have to be a bit careful while eating. Still, a delicious, and relatively fast to prepare, weeknight meal.
When I came in the next day and proudly told my boss how I had prepared them, he beamed and said, “You made a real Chinese dinner!”