Celebration Sea Bass with Ginger and Spring Onion

This flavoursome Chinese dish of whole baked sea bass with ginger, spring onion, and chilli oil makes an impressive centrepiece. It's a simple recipe, but it packs a punch.

Gok Cooks Chinese
From the book Gok Cooks Chinese
By

Introduction

Feasting is super-important to the Chinese community, it’s the ultimate opportunity for family and friends to join together as one and celebrate. Whether it’s a baby’s one-month party, a wedding or a birthday, an elaborate feast is prepared consisting of as many as twelve courses, each dish with its own special significance. The menu is run like a theatrical performance, climaxing in an all-singing, all-dancing finale. This sea bass dish will often be served as the final course. Effortlessly visual, it will arrive at the table dressed immaculately, then will be filleted right before your eyes. The perfect ending to a beautiful edible performance.

Serves 4
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 35 min
Total time: 45 min

Ingredients

For the pickled ginger:
a 6cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and very finely sliced
2 tsp rice vinegar
For the fish:
1 x 1kg whole sea bass, gutted, scaled and cleaned
salt and ground white pepper
1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
a 3cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2 spring onions, cut into matchsticks
½ a medium tomato, peeled, deseeded and diced
For the chilli oil:
5 tbsp groundnut oil
1 fresh red chilli, finely sliced

Instructions

1. To make the pickled ginger, mix together the ginger and rice vinegar and leave to stand while you prepare the fish.

2. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Line a baking tray with a sheet of tin foil, and place a sheet of baking paper over the tin foil. Place the sea bass in the centre.

3. To prepare the fish, make 3 or 4 slits along the flesh at right angles to the spine, cutting until you almost hit the bone. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over the Shaoxing rice wine, soy sauce and sesame oil. Scatter the ginger and spring onions over the top. Gather the foil and paper up at the edges into a package and seal well, then put the baking tray into the preheated oven and roast for 15–20 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and flakes away easily from the bone.

4. To make the chilli oil, place the oil and chilli into a wok over a medium heat to infuse.

5. Remove the cooked fish from the oven. Carefully open the package and baste the fish with the liquid in the package. Place the fish on a serving plate.

6. Drain the pickled ginger from the vinegar, return to the bowl and add a little of the cooking juices from the fish. Stir in the tomato and season if necessary, then spoon over the fish. Pour over the hot chilli oil to serve.

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