My pops made sure I grew up fishing rivers, lakes, and ponds. When I started to spearfish a couple years back, it was simply to enjoy being underwater and hunting fish in a new way. Then I started to really dig the challenge of breath holds and understanding fish behavior and their habitat. A new and unexpected joy has been figuring out fun and creative ways to utilize fish and their various parts, try to make them taste good, and then try to attractively plate them. I shot a Lingcod and a Blue on Friday afternoon while my buddy was in town from LA.
It was fun on Sunday, sitting down in the early morning to decide which plate to use, then which colors will go on that plate, then what flavors can come from those colors. I still didn't have a great idea going into it, other than Ariel Merhav's recent Chinese take on lingcod that made me want to do something Asian. It was neat learning that we have several edible flowers right in Pacific Grove, so I went out hunting after a trip to the grocery store and Asian market. I also stopped by Home Depot to get a torch for burning some of the food. Here is how it came out.
Spicy Shiitake "quenelle", Lingcod over Burned Lemon in a Soy, Sake, Vinegar and Ginger Reduction. Recipe Below -->
Add sliced carrot, onion, garlic and mushroom to a large non-stick pan with a little olive oil and sautee. Don't clean the pan. Add it to a food processor with italian seasoning, fresh parsley, fresh oregano, salt, pepper and chili flakes. Process it as smooth or rough of a texture as you'd like it to be. It should shape well no matter the consistency. I used a flower pedal, micro greens, a dot of Sriracha and Hawaiian black salt to garnish it.
Add 3 TBS Mirin (sweet rice wine), 2 TBS finely chopped ginger, 2 TBS low sodium soy sauce, 2 TBS rice vinegar, 1/2 TBS olive oil, 1/4 TBS sesame oil, pinch of salt to a sauce pan. Simmer for as long as you want to get the desired consistency. I was going for more syrup like. I also strained the ginger, but you could leave it in if you wanted more zing in the dish (if you were using rice or something, this would be great).
The fish was cooked in the same pan as the mushrooms and I poured some of the sauce reduction over it while cooking. This dish would also be really good with the fish crusted, but we try to eat on the healthier side, so we went with pan cooked. I burned a few slices of lemon with a, and then rubbed them over the fish once plated.
The garnish was just edamame and lemon, sliced Brussels sprouts that were cooked in the fish pan with some water to make steam, edible flowers, julienned scallions, ginger root and red bell pepper.
Overall, my favorite flavor was the burned lemon and the sauce. Come to find out it's basically just a zingier fresh version of terriaki sauce. My wife ended up wanting the rest of the mushrooms because those were her favorite!