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Caramelized Halibut with Bok Choy

You may make the sauce up to 5 days in advance. Let cool, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until needed. Stir the sauce into the shallot mixture just before you add the fish.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbs. warm water
  • 1/3 cup Asian fish sauce
  • 2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs. room-temperature water
  • 2 Tbs. corn or peanut oil
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbs. grated fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 4 halibut or cod fillets, about 1 1/2 lb. total, each 1 inch thick
  • 1/2 lb. bok choy, quartered lengthwise
  • 2 Tbs. fresh cilantro leaves
  • Steamed rice for serving

Directions:

Make the sauce
In a small bowl, stir together the warm water, fish sauce and soy sauce.

In a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and the room-temperature water and stir until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high, stop stirring and swirl the pan until the sugar syrup turns light amber, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully pour the fish sauce mixture into the syrup. It will bubble and spatter. Stir until the bubbling subsides. Set aside.

Braise the fish
Warm a Dutch oven or large fry pan over high heat until very hot and pour in the oil. Add the shallots, ginger and garlic and sauté until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the pepper and stir in the sauce.

Reduce the heat to low, place the fish in the liquid, cover and braise for 7 minutes. Using a metal spatula, carefully turn the fillets over, lay the bok choy quarters around them, re-cover and continue to braise until the fish is opaque throughout when tested with the tip of a knife, about 7 minutes more.

Transfer the fish to a platter, spoon the sauce over the top, garnish with the cilantro and serve immediately with steamed rice. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Asian, by Farina Wong Kingsley (Oxmoor House, 2007).