Our new favorite way to prepare our fish is “steam-braising”, which we learned from a chef in the UK, who admittedly made up the term, and have yet to find a fish that it does not work well with. You won’t find mention of this technique anywhere I can think of, but you’ve probably done something similar with a foil parcel/packet.
Take a pan that’s shallow, wide and relatively tightly lidded. Bigger is better and you may need two of them, depending on how many filets you are cooking. Simply place the filets into the pan, seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper and spaced out with a bit of space between them.
Add the ingredients directly to the pan (before heating):
If you're making more than 2 lbs, adjust the amounts above as necessary. Next, cover the pan, turn heat on medium-low, reduce to simmer once it begins to boil
- Leave at the lowest simmer possible with the lid on for about 4 – 7 minutes, depending on the thickness of the filets.
- Shake the pan gently about a minute into cooking to ensure the fish does not stick to the pan. If the filets are more than 1” thick, it’s a good idea to flip them half way through (though this can be a risky and disasterous venture if you’re not careful – your fish may fall apart but it’ll still taste just as good)
- You can tell when the fish is done once it flakes and the center is just at the point where translucency meets opacity (is that a word? )
- Pull the filets from the pan and transfer carefully to a warmed plate – a fish spatula can be key here; tent with a piece of foil
- With the lid removed, raise heat to medium, add a tbsp or two of whole/whipping cream (a little half/half would be ok too) and reduce liquid left in the pan, while whisking slowly or swirling the pan, until it’s thick enough to be called a sauce. Best way to tell is to stick a spoon in there and see if it coats the back once removed – good chance to try it too!
- Turn off the heat, adjust w/salt and pepper if needed, let cool for about a minute, then whisk in one last small pat of butter until it disappears.
- Pull your foil tent and either pour the pan sauce directly over or in a dish to serve at the table
- Enjoy and tell your guests (or Mom) that you spent hours making the sauce 🙂
The best part about this (besides the fact that you only messy one pan) is that you can substitue any of the ingredients to make an infinite number of combinations. For example, with your shark, replace the white wine with a bit of soy sauce (less than the wine called for or it’ll end up too salty), add a bit of chopped ginger, and some sliced up green onions.