For months over the prolonged fall and winter seasons, I've been neglectful of my health, thinking I am only but a short wait away from Spring when outdoor exercise would be a lot more frequent, and a healthy meal would be a lot easier to manage. In my opinion, the warmer months just provide more options for vegetables, and that's probably true. But when my doctor told me my numbers are off the charts, I decided I'm no longer young enough to be lackadaisical about what I eat.
I am a lover of fish. As a young child visiting relatives who lived near the sea in the Philippines, I have vivid memories of fishermen who dragged the day's catch to the shore. They would sort through, singling out fish large enough to feed a group of people, clean it, season lightly and set it to grill on an open fire. So my idea of a really amazing grilled fish is a very rustic one.
Of course, it is important that you have fresh fish, and I know that isn't always easy or even possible to get fish caught that day. Having a good fish monger always helps, of course. In the absence of that, I do what I've always been told. I look at the eyes? Are they clear and not cloudy? If so, that's good. Poke the flesh. Are they bouncy or do mushy? And of course, smell it. Fish will smell, well fishy. But it shouldn't smell like it's rotting.
• Whole Pompano or preferred fish for grilling, cleaned and descaled. (Good choices are meatier fish like red snapper, mackerel, sea bass, bluefish, milkfish, tilapia).
• Olive Oil
• Salt & Pepper
• 1 bunch chinese broccoli
• 1 packet enoki mushrooms
• 2 garlic cloves
• 1 tablespoon mushroom or oyster sauce
• 1/4 cup chicken stock (or plain water)
Brush grill with a little oil. Heat to high setting.
Take cleaned pompano (with skin!!) and rub all over with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Make sure every part of the fish is well coated, inside and out. (If you wish to elevate it a bit you, can stuff the gills and open belly with some aromatics like lemon rind, rosemary, onions, ginger, etc. Don't overstuff it or you won't be able to flip it.)
*Tip: To lessen the fishy smell, drizzle with white wine or dry vermouth before seasoning.
When the grill is hot, you can set the fish directly on the grill, and turn down the heat to medium. Do not turn over fish until the skin easily comes off the grill. When you do turn it, do so gently using a flat spatula.
For the vegetables...
Cut and discard the ends of the chinese broccoli and the enoki mushrooms. Rinse well and pat dry. Mince garlic.
In a shallow pan over medium heat, pour a tablespoon of olive oil. Add minced garlic, being careful not to burn it. Add chinese broccoli. Toss until slightly wilted. Then add oyster or mushroom sauce coating the leaves. Add chicken stock, cover and let simmer for five minutes. Add enoki mushrooms. Simmer for another minute. Serve while hot. Arrange in a platter and add grilled fish on top. Drizzle some of the sauce both on the vegetables and the fish.
Great served with rice.
In Case You Want to Know
Pompanos are marine fishes in
the family Carangidae (better known as "jacks"). Pompano may also refer to various other, similarly shaped members of the Carangidae, or the order Perciformes. Their appearance is deep-bodied and mackerel-like, typically silver and toothless, with a forked tail and narrow base. Of the 20 described species, most are valued as food.