This morning, we did the unthinkable.
We fought the zz-monsters and journeyed from lala-land to Billingsgate Fish Market. At 5a.m. In sub-zero temperatures. In the pursuit of fresh fish.
On the topic of the fish market, Billingsgate is an amazing place. You’d think that an entire complex that sells seafood would carry the unmistakable odour of, well, fish. But noooooo. Fish never smelt fresher. Or rather, the fish never smelt.
It’s not very common here, but from where we come from, whole fresh fish (prepared in a variety of ways, on the bone, always whole) hails from our grandmothers, and we miss it terribly. Fresh fish has such a delicate sweetness and is completely un-fishy. Prepared in the simplest method that preserves and pays homage to the fish, this proves that sometimes, less is more:)
Steamed Whole Sea Bream
- Fresh whole sea bream (sea bass is a really popular choice as well!), approximately 300-400g
- 2 tbs light soy sauce
- 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
- about 3-4 cherry tomatoes, or 1 regular tomato, sliced into wedges
- good splash of shaoxing wine
- 1/2 tbs vinegar
- pinch of pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 slices of ginger, thinly shredded
- Prepare steamer by pouring a good amount of boiling water into a pan and setting a small bowl or steamer rack in the centre. Set it on medium high heat.
- Scale the fish, gut it and wash it clean. Pat dry.
- Place fish on a large shallow plate that can fit into your steamer.
- Season with soy sauce, shaoxing wine, garlic, vinegar, pepper, ginger. Place the bay leaf into the belly of the fish and scatter the tomato wedges around the fish.
- When the steamer is ready (the water should be on medium high heat, and simmering happily), place the fish on top of the steamer rack/small bowl. Place the lid on.
- Steam for approximately 20 minutes until flesh is cooked through.
- Serve piping hot!
K’s mom always said, “Never eat whole fish with rice lest you choke on the bones and die.”
But we did that anyway. Not choke and die, but had it with fluffy steamed basmati rice. And oh my, was it good.
This reminded us of our grandmothers, who’d go to the wet market early in the mornings. We love you, grandmas.
Here’s the recipe card, click and save!