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Steamed whole fish

February 14, 2007
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Serves 2

To steam the fish, you need a large wok, a metal rack that will sit firmly inside, and a heatproof platter that will fit into the wok and hold the fish.

1 whole fish, such as tilapia (1 to 1 1/2 pounds), cleaned with head and tail intact
3 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
1 piece (1 inch) fresh ginger, cut into slivers
2 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste
White pepper (optional)
1/4 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1. Rinse the fish and pat it dry with paper towels. About 1/2 inch from the dorsal fin, make a slit about 1 inch deep on each side of the fish.

2. Place half the scallions on a heatproof platter. Set the fish on top. Sprinkle with half the ginger.

3. Set a metal rack inside a wok. Pour enough water into the wok to make a 1-inch - deep layer. Bring the water to a boil on high heat.

4. Set the fish on the rack. Cover the pan.

5. Steam over high heat for about 10 minutes, or until a knife blade inserted into the middle of the fish can pierce through to the backbone without resistance.

6. Slice the remaining scallions into fine slivers.

7. Carefully remove the platter from the wok (use metal tongs to lift it and grip it with a towel). Tip out the juices from the platter.

8. Cover the fish with the remaining ginger and scallions. Sprinkle with soy sauce, white pepper, if using, and sesame oil.

9. Tip the water out of the wok and wipe it dry. Heat the oil until it is shimmering. Spoon the oil onto the fish. -- Kimberly W. Moy

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