Do you love fish? Do you want the freshest catch and pay a fraction of the cost you are paying at the grocery stores? Is it okay for you to wake up early on a Saturday morning, say 3 AM and drive all the way to the Port of Los Angeles? If you answered yes to all the questions then grab your jacket and car keys because I'm pretty sure you'd want to be there on an early Saturday morning when the San Pedro fish markets are open to the public.
Inside the pink building located at the end of 22nd Street, you will see a crowd of shoppers picking through boxes of live crabs, shrimps, lobsters, squid and fish. At the market you can find a variety of fish from mackerel to red snapper to sole to salmon to tuna. Some have been filleted, while some you can buy whole. Prices are astonishing low too. Imagine 89 cents a pound for squid? We were able to purchase a huge fillet of salmon and sole fillets for $5.00 each. You can't get that good a deal in your neighborhood grocery store. There are also bins of crushed ice for shoppers to pack their loot in for the drive home.
Okay back to cooking. Originally, I wanted to pan fry the fillets of sole and serve it with a creamy butter sauce but eventually decided on steaming the fillets for a change.
Steaming gave the fillets, a tender, delicate, melt in your mouth texture and balanced the asian flavors brought about by the other ingredients in the dish. If you have a huge steamer, then you don't have to cut the fillets, but if you don't, you can always slice it in half. I served the steamed fillets over a bed of Chinese cabbage that I sauteed in garlic, onions, ginger and a dash or two of oyster sauce.
Check out the recipe below. As with my other recipes, please feel free to adjust seasonings to your liking. I don't measure when I cook.
Oh and before I forget, the San Pedro Fish Market is open to the public every Saturday from 3:30AM to 7:00AM.
Steamed Fish Fillet with Garlic Ginger Sesame Soy Dressing
For the Vegetable
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1/2 of an onion, finely sliced
half a head of chinese cabbage or napa cabbage, washed and sliced into 1 1/2 inch pieces
dash or two of oyster sauce
pepper to taste
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon sugar
For the fillets
4 fish fillets, I used sole but you can use dory or any white fish fillets you have on hand. (Slice them in half if they wont fit in your steamer)
1/8 cup water
2 tablespoons rice wine or Chinese cooking wine (I used mirin because thats what I had on hand)
3 tablespoons ginger, julienned
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 to 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 stalk green onion, julienned
1 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
cilantro for garnish
For the vegetable:
Heat oil in pan and add the ginger, onion and garlic. Saute until fragrant. Add the chopped cabbage then season with oyster sauce and pepper. Pour in water and cover pan for two to three minutes. Drain cabbage and transfer to a plate; Set aside.
For the fish:
Clean and wash the fish then pat dry. Arrange fillets on a plate that fits inside a steamer basket.
Add water, cooking wine and a tablespoon of soy sauce over fish and then top with half of the ginger. Place plate inside the steamer. Cook for about 8 mins or until fillets are tender and cooked properly.
Using a spatula, carefully remove the fillets from the steamer and place on top of the vegetable.
In a pan, heat oil and and saute ginger and garlic until fragrant. Add the remaining soy sauce, and any remaining liquid left on the plate where you steamed your fish in and sesame oil. Add the green onions. Check seasoning. Add sugar if needed. When the ginger, garlic oil is hot, pour over the fish. Serve hot.