Chinese-Style Sea Bass - Easy

 This fish is a company-grade dinner that you can serve on a weeknight.  There are several steps involved, but they are all simple.  Time-wise, this fish will be ready to plate in just about the same time it takes to make the rice.

The hardest part is slicing the scallions.

You can toast the sesame seeds yourself, just like, say, pine nuts, but pre-roasted sesame seeds are available at larger supermarkets, oriental markets or (sometimes) wholesale stores.  In my neck of the woods, a humongous 8-ounce container costs barely twice as much as those teensy-tiny spice jars containing non-roasted seeds, even at the gourmet market. Totally worth it.

Serve with the easy Hot and Sour Soup from the other day for an almost-restaurant experience.  Pass the pistachio ice cream around afterwards.

Chinese-Style Sea Bass
Yield:  4 servings

1/4 cup soy sauce (low-sodium preferred)
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tsp. granulated white sugar
3 thin slices fresh ginger
1 Tbl. vegetable oil  
4 sea bass fillets (approx. 1 lb.)
1 (8 oz.) package sliced white mushrooms
1 scallion, green part only, thinly sliced on the diagonal (for garnish)
2 tsp. toasted or roasted sesame seeds (black, white or a combination, for garnish)
cooked rice, enough for your family

In a small saucepan, stir together soy sauce, rice vinegar and white wine; spoon out 1/4 cup of the mixture and set aside.  Stir sugar and ginger into remaining soy sauce mixture, then heat over medium heat until mixture simmers.  Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer until mixture is reduced to a glaze (about 1/4 cup), watching closely  to avoid scorching. Remove saucepan from heat.  Discard ginger slices; set saucepan aside and keep warm.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced mushrooms.  Saute mushrooms, stirring occasionally, for 5-8 minutes or until they reduce and any liquid the mushrooms give off evaporates. Transfer mushrooms to a covered dish; keep warm.

Add oil to "dirty" skillet.  When oil is hot, arrange fillets in a single layer in skillet; sear 3-5 minutes or until fish is nicely browned. Carefully flip fillets over and sear about 2 minutes more, or until fillets are browned but not cooked through. Slowly add reserved 1/4 cup soy sauce mixture to saucepan; simmer until fish is cooked through, about 1 minute.   Return cooked mushrooms to pan for 30 seconds to reheat.

Divide cooked rice among 4 dinner plates.  Place fish on top of rice. Brush fish with glaze.  Top with mushrooms; garnish with sesame seeds and sliced scallions, if desired.   Serve immediately.


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