Porcini-dusted White Fish with Grilled Bok Choy

 

A delicious spring meal for a warm day.

 

 

Did you know that bok choy is good grilled? Do you ever get bored of mild-flavored white fish or don’t know what to do with it to give it more flavor? Have you ever tried Asian mushroom powder and marveled at its ability to add balanced flavor to vegetarian foods but been scared off because the list of ingredients on the packaging is very vague. I know I have, but I’d like to convince you that it is very easy to make your own at home. In fact, this whole meal is incredibly simple to make at home. Give it a try, you’ll be glad you did.

 

Here’s what you need for the mushroom powder:

  • a spice grinder or dedicated (for spices) coffee grinder
  • a hand-full of your favorite dried mushrooms (porcini, shitake, or any blend you like)
  • salt and pepper
  • a pinch of sugar
  • any other herbs or spices you want to try out.

My mixture comprised of a hand-full of dried porcini mushrooms, a few heavy pinches of salt, several goood grinds of black pepper, about 1 tsp of dried garlic, 1/2 tsp of dried lemon peel, and a pinch of sugar.

 

Grind it up until it is a fine powder and give it a taste. It should be salty, similar in saltiness to a spice-rub. You want the flavor to be fairly simple but very savory. Feel free to experiment and come up with something you like. A mixture like this also works well on tofu or added to a vegetarian soup base.  Here is where I get my dried porcinis. You can order online and they’ll ship it to you.

 

A few of the bok choi in my garden this spring.

 

 

A quick note: the bok choy I used were gigantic. I grew them in my garden and let them get very big before I picked them. You can see some bare spots in the photo above where already harvested several purple ones. I’ve never seen them this large at the market but they’re very delicious and tender even at large sizes. If you have a garden and would like to grow purple/red bok choy this is where to get seeds for the exact type I used in my meal.  If you can’t find bok choy this large, and you probably won’t unless you grow it yourself, just grab 3-4 of the medium-small ones that you can find at most asian markets (for each person).

 

Ingredients:

For the Fish:

  • 6 oz piece of mild white fish per person – I used Cod
  • mushroom powder
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

For the Bok Choy:

  • One very large bok choy per person or a few medium sized ones per person
  • olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic – minced
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon juice

Directions:

  • Warm up the grill and place a heavy cast-iron skillet inside to heat until it is scorching hot.
  • Rub the fish down with a drizzle of olive oil and then a generous dusting of the mushroom powder. If the fish is a thick piece you may want to add some more salt and pepper to your liking.
  • Wash and cut your bok choy in half, lengthwise. In a small bowl mix together some lemon juice with some salt. Give it a taste, you want it to be salty enough to season your bok choy well. Add some ground pepper, the minced garlic and some olive oil. Mix to combine and drizzle it over the bok choy. Give it a good rub to make sure it gets down between the leaves.
  • Drizzle a good glug of olive oil into the hot skillet. Right as it starts smoking add the fish to the pan, being careful to not splatter hot oil all over yourself. You may want to use some metal tongs. Do not turn down the grill, keep it covered and on medium-high. If you keep the grill hot enough you should be able to crisp the outsides without overcooking the inside. Make sure to use a good amount of oil in the pan. This will facilitate a good crisp outside and will help to keep the fish (cod is dry) from getting dry and mealy. If you find that you are unsuccessful or if your fish is not a thick piece try seasoning and cooking the fish without defrosting it. If you keep it frozen it should thaw out and cook just as the outsides get crisped. Check your crisped fish for doneness and move it to a higher rack for finishing if you find that it is still a bit raw inside. This is especially important if you are searing a frozen piece.
  • When the fish is almost done, place your bok choy directly on the grill. If you have used olive oil, it shouldn’t stick. Let is sear for a minute or two on each side. The smaller the bok choy the faster it will cook. If your bok choy is very large you may want to place it on a higher rack of your grill for another minute or two to make sure it warms all the way through.

 

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