Summer Entertaining 2000: Swim Team

  Steamed Striped Bass With Vegetables and Spicy Garlic Sauce

The Chef
NOBU MATSUHISA of Next Door Nobu

Serves four.

1 2-pound whole striped bass, gutted and scaled (sea bass can be substituted)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces assorted vegetables (asparagus, broccoli, haricots verts, onion, and green pepper) cut into uniform bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, sliced thin
1 and 1/2 tablespoons chili-garlic paste (Lee Kum Kee brand; available in Asian markets)
1/2 cup flamed sake (heat sake, then light with a match to burn off alcohol until flame goes out)
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Cooking Instructions
Score the fish diagonally three times on each side with a sharp knife, and season with salt and pepper. Place the fish on a plate and put in a bamboo or other steamer (covered) over medium heat for 12 to 15 minutes.

While the fish is cooking, blanch the asparagus in boiling salted water for about 45 seconds. Drain and plunge asparagus into a bowl of ice water. Repeat with the broccoli (about 45 seconds) and haricots verts (about 30 seconds).

Heat oil in a sauté pan over a medium-high flame, add the garlic, and sauté until it's golden. Remove the garlic from the oil and reserve. Add onions and peppers, and sauté until onions are translucent, then add the blanched vegetables. Add the chili-garlic paste, and continue to sauté briefly. Add the flamed sake and soy sauce, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange the fish on a large plate, and top with the vegetables. Pour the remaining sauce over the top, and garnish with sautéed garlic and sesame seeds. Serve with rice.

Note: If you don't have a large steamer, put 1 inch of boiling water in a large roasting pan. Invert a saucer in the bottom to support the fish plate, and cover with foil.