Part III of my Dim Sum Sunday Vegetable medley is a bit of a experiment. You see I googling down the Internet Highway when I crossed paths with a wonderful blog called Seduction Meals. After exploring many of their dishes I wanted to make I was happy to see another dish using black cod. I love black cod or sablefish but it seems that most recipes use Nobu's miso marination and I wanted to branch away from that. Seduction Meals has a Black Cod in Shiitake Broth with Pickled Fennel Salad recipe that sounded like it was right up my ally. Well.....except I'm not a huge fan of Fennel. So I decided to substitute the seasonally available butternut squash and try making a slaw out of that to pair up with my black cod. That led me to Mark Bittman's Raw Butternut Squash Salad with Cranberry Dressing from the NY Times. With all this in mind, I headed off to the grocery store. While butternut squash might be in season, the cranberries were not and none of the grocery stores I frequent carry frozen ones. I was limited to trying to plump up some dried ones or find a substitute. Dark red cherries were available so I decided to go with them. Not as bitter as cranberries but they do have a mild sweetness that might work. Then I confronted my next problem. No black cod this weekend at the fish counter. Since I was at Whole Foods I did have an alternative. Chilean Sea Bass. Normally I don't order or buy the Chilean Sea Bass because it's one of those fish on the Seafood Watch list as one to avoid. However Whole Foods buys this fish from a sustainable fishery at South Georgia Island so we're in a kinda gray area here. I ended up buying a small piece to make my recipe and toddled on home to get to cooking.
The original salad called for orange juice, ginger, olive oil, honey and salt and pepper as the seasoning for the butternut squash. I replaced the olive oil with a small amount of sesame oil, kept everything else but added a sprinkling of five powder spice to give it a little kick. Turned out kinda fun, shredded butternut has a fresh and crunchy taste.
For the Shiitake broth, there again I substituted butternut squash for the fennel and got a much milder, sweeter broth. As for the sea bass, what a great fish. No wonder it's been over-fished. It's luscious and moist, handles most types of cooking methods without a problem.
Put all together...just a great bowl of food. Big tender flakes of fish, crunchy bits from the original sear, the warm flavorful broth and the crunchy salad on top. I'm not sure if anyone's kids would eat this but that's the great thing about dishes like this, if they don't eat it, you should.
Happy Dim Sum Sunday - 2011 everyone!!