Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
You will LOVE this free drawing, my friends…read on!
Also in the Tampa Tribune
Buying fish at the supermarket is one of those things that make me nervous. First off, the only thing I can ever afford is farm-raised tilapia from who-knows-where and whatever the fishmonger has on sale. Secondly, cooking fish is finickier than chipmunk in heat – 60 seconds is all that separates a moist, tender fillet from a dry, tough, overcooked rain jacket. Do I risk $16.99/lb for a grouper or $24.99/lb for monkfish? If the fish isn’t sushi-grade, is it ok to cook medium-rare? What if the recipe I found in the cookbook sucks and I end up with an inedible dinner? What if I misjudge my timing?
The poor fishmonger watches as I stand in front of the glass case, wringing my hands, calculating the price/risk index for each fish on display. Most days, I’ll opt for nice hunk of salmon, as my pocketbook is comfortable with the ratio of $9.99 per pound x high-fat content that it almost impossible to overcook.
A couple of weeks ago, a company called Kona Blue, overnighted to me a few pounds of a fish called kampachi to try. It’s Hawaiian yellowtail, sustainably raised off the coast of Hawaii at their farms. Like salmon, it’s chock full of Omega 3 oils, so it’s succulent, firm and rich. The best part is that it’s raised in a clean, controlled setting and it’s sushi-grade.
The kampachi fillets were one of the most beautiful, moist fish I’ve ever cooked at home. The true test was that I even accidentally overcooked the fish, because the moment the timer went off, something called, “sibling rivalry” screamed from the other room and demanded my immediate attention.
The price/risk ratio? Well, it’s expensive if you mail order from Kona Blue. $17.00/lb for fillets plus $35 for FedEx. Ouch. But some of the best restaurants in town and a handful of markets carry the fish. Here is a partial list of retailers and restaurants.
Tampa & Sarasota Readers: Tampa, FL restaurants are not listed there, but you can find Kona Kampachi at Roy’s, Bern’s, Sidebern’s, Mise en Place, Lakeland Yacht Club, Grand Hyatt Tampa and the Tampa Yacht Club. I just visited Whole Foods in Sarasota and they LOVE Kona Kampachi. Call or visit them and tell Ryan the fish manager that you want him to order! They have it sometimes, but the more people who ask, the more available the fish will be!
It’s certainly a fish that I’d beg or bribe my local fishmonger to carry.
But, my dear friends, I’ve got a surprise for you. Kona Blue has graciously given me some prizes to give away – packages of super-fresh Kona Blue Kampachi overnighted to 3 randomly chosen lucky winners. The fish is packed with tons of ice packs, and will arrive on your doorstep fresh as ever. I don’t know how much they are sending to you, but I have a feeling it will be more than your entire family can eat in one sitting.
Oh, and since it’s sushi-grade, you can eat it like sashimi with some soy and wasabi.
All you have to do is comment below! Accepting entries until Saturday morning after my morning coffee lunchtime…whenever that will be. Oh, and for my international friends, I don’t think Kona Blue can ship overnight internationally, but enter anyways, and if you win, I’ll personally ship you something nice….a box full of Steamy Kitchen goodies. Maybe some wonderful American spices, sauces, gadgets, books? Dunno yet, but I’ll send something extra special.
While I used kampachi in this dish, you can certainly substitute with any fish fillets – your timing will be dependent on how thick your fish is. For thin fish like sole, fry 2 minutes, flip and then turn off the heat and let the residual heat finish the cooking. For thicker fish like salmon and kampachi, follow recipe below. Salmon fillets would work wonderful in this dish, as the bright citrus pairs perfectly with the fattiness of the salmon.
A note on the soba: when you boil the water for the noodles, generously salt your water, as you should any pasta. If the soba is well seasoned during cooking, you shouldn’t need much sauce. I don’t like my noodles drowning in sauce – the sauce should just lightly coat the fish and noodles, like in my photo. Now, if you do like a saucy noodles, just double the Citrus Soy Sauce recipe.
4 fish fillets
salt & fresh ground pepper
6 oz. dried soba noodles
Citrus Soy Sauce:
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tbl lemon juice
2 tbl honey
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp rice wine or dry sherry
1 tsp lemon zest
Boil soba noodles according to directions on package, remember to generously salt your boiling water. Drain, set aside. While soba noodles are cooking, combine sauce ingredients in small saucepan and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. The sauce should be bright, sweet and slightly tart. Season fish fillets generously with salt and pepper. Heat a large, non-stick pan with 2 tbl cooking oil over med-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add fillets and fry 3 minutes. Flip fish and fry another 2 minutes, take a quick peek by poking the thickest part of the fish and add another minute if needed. Serve fish over bed of soba noodles. Pour Citrus-Soy over fish.
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