This recipe for whole bass, adapted from one in Grace Young’s The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen (Simon & Schuster, 1999), calls for a wok, but a 12″ skillet can also be used. A drizzle of hot oil brings out extra flavor and crisps the skin. This recipe first appeared in our April 2014 issue.
- 1 (12–14 oz.) whole sea bass, cleaned and dried
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
- 4 dried shiitake mushrooms, stemmed
- 1 tbsp. shaoxing jiu (Chinese rice wine)
- 1⁄2 tsp. sugar
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 scallions, julienned
- 1 (3″ piece) ginger, peeled and julienned
- 1⁄4 cup canola oil
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 6 tender sprigs cilantro
- lace bass on a baking sheet fitted with a rack; season cavity and outside with salt. Let air-dry 30 minutes; transfer to a heatproof platter. Soak mushrooms in 1 cup boiling water until softened, about 30 minutes; drain and slice. Mix mushrooms, wine, sugar, garlic, half the scallions, and the ginger in a bowl; rub over outside and in cavity of bass.
- Bring 1″ water to boil in a 14″ flat-bottomed wok fitted with an 11″ bamboo steamer. Place platter with bass in steamer base and cover; steam until cooked through, 12–15 minutes. Remove platter. Heat oil in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering; drizzle over fish. Garnish with remaining scallions, the soy sauce, and cilantro.