Here’s an easy Friday night supper that’s worth trying if you fancy something more exotic than good old fish and chips. The harusame sauce (recipe from the fabulous YO! Sushi cookbook) was a rather random addition to the meal, but it worked really well. And you can’t go wrong with a drop of sake. So it has a Japanese vibe, although this actually reminded me of eating whole fish at a riverside restaurant in Vietnam…<wafts off into sunshiney reverie>. I love the power of food to evoke truly transporting memories.
Simple Sake Baked Sea Bream with Harusame Sauce
one large sea bream, gutted and descaled by your friendly fishmonger
walnut-sized piece of fresh root ginger
2 spring onions
2 tablespoons sake
For the sauce:
20g fresh root ginger, peeled
20g garlic cloves, peeled
200ml rice vinegar
200ml soy sauce
2 heaped tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
Preheat oven to 180ºC.
Peel the walnut-sized piece of ginger and slice it into fine matchsticks. Top and tail the spring onions and shred into 2cm lengths.
Lay the fish on a large piece of very lightly oiled foil on a baking tray. Put half the ginger and spring onions inside the fish and the other half on top, then sprinkle the sake over it. Seal the foil up into a parcel and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the sauce by grating or very finely chopping the other piece of ginger, then pushing it through a sieve to extract the juice. Discard the pulp. Crush the garlic and combine it with the ginger juice in a small bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well to ensure the sugar is completely dissolved. (This quantity makes about 400ml, so any you don’t use can be stored in a sealed jar in the fridge for about a week.)
Serve the fish with rice noodles and steamed pak choi, with the sauce poured over the top.
We shared one fish between two (if you cut it close to the bone using a very sharp pointed knife it should divide neatly), but you might want one each depending on how greedy/hungry you are.