Sunday, January 8, 2017

so simple

Really? This is it?

That's what I thought to myself when I first read this recipe. You just bake the fish in the tiniest bit of rice wine, and it doesn't stick and make an unholy mess? And then you just pour on some ginger-spiked oil, and a salty-sweet soy concoction, and it's enough flavor to carry some plain ol' tilapia over some white rice?

Turns out, the answer is yes. This could not have been simpler, faster, or more satisfying. Ever the skeptic, I did sub out half of the vegetable oil in the ginger oil for sesame oil, and I sauteed some baby bok choy in more sesame oil to round out and add some healthy color to the dish, but truly, that's it.

It's simple comfort is similar to Hainanese chicken rice - no crazy complex flavors, just bringing out the best nuances of each ingredient.

Soy Ginger Tilapia
slightly adapted from Food52
serves 2, generously

1 lb. tilapia
5 T. rice wine, divided
2-inch piece ginger root, finely sliced
2 T. vegetable oil
2 T. sesame oil
6 T. soy sauce
4 T. sugar
5 T. water

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the fish filets in a small baking pan. Sprinkle 2 T. of rice wine over the fish, and then arrange the ginger slices on top. Bake for 12 minutes or until the fish is just cooked through.

2. Meanwhile, heat both oils in a small saucepan over medium low.

3. Mix the remaining 3 T. of rice wine with the soy sauce, sugar, and water and heat for 1 minute in the microwave. Stir to dissolve the sugar.

4. When the fish is done, remove the ginger slices and transfer to the hot oil. Bring the heat up on the oil to medium high and cook until the ginger just starts to brown. Immediately pour the hot oil onto the fish. Pour the soy sauce mixture over the fish and serve warm with rice.

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