So I had probably the most eventful week of my life. One, I got my boards score and not only did I pass, I managed to rock it (yay!) – that was a huge relief off my chest. Two, I got engaged (that’s pretty cool). Three, I turned a quarter of a century old (not as cool, lol).
Guess this all means I’m growing up – getting a career, a marriage, and wrinkles.
To celebrate all that jazz, B’s family and I went to Menlo Grill and Bistro near Stanford. I went to the bathroom and came back to find the waitress serving us complimentary champagne and congratulating me on my engagement.
Chef Uy: Eh? How did you know?! (we did not make reservations)
Waitress: Oh, you were just glowing when you walked in, so I asked what the occasion was.
That reminded my of one my favorite quotes by Roald Dahl: “If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” I can beam sunshine!
Happiness makes any food taste good, but, really, I did eat the most delicious dish ever: Miso-glazed Chilean sea bass with sticky rice, steamed broccolini, lotus root chips, in roasted mushroom broth. I tucked it away in my list of restaurant recipes to figure out.
More than 4 years ago, B went through great efforts to woo me. But the secret to my heart is two things: fish and froyo.
B: If I knew how much you like eating, getting you to go out with me in the beginning would have been so much less work!!
Delightedly, I found a great deal on Chilean seabass – it’s an rather expensive fish because of its buttery flavor. I decided, well, I’m gonna treat myself cause I’m a grown-up now! So this is the fanciest (ie most expensive) ingredient I’ve ever used so far in my poor student budget culinary career.
Fun Fact: Interestingly, Chilean seabass isn’t even a bass, but a cod, and most aren’t from Chile, but from Antarctica. In a mere 20 years, it rose from being some unknown fish with an ugly name “Patagonian toothfish” served as a cheap substitute to a luxury cuisine (now risking extinction) thanks to some sexy branding, as it was marketed under a fancier sounding new name “Chilean seabass.”
My dish is quite close, except I couldn’t find brocollini, so I inserted random Asian vegetable. If you don’t know what vegetables you’re buying in an Asian grocery store, try this handy visual guide. I have no idea how they did the sticky rice, but I nailed the miso fish (adapted from Epicurious). Oh yeah!
Miso Glazed Chilean Sea Bass
1/6 cup sake
1/6 cup mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons miso paste
4 (4 ounce) fillets fresh sea bass
Mix sake, mirin, soy sauce, brown sugar, and miso in a shallow dish. Add fish and marinate for at least 1 hour.
On a nonstick cooking pan on medium heat, pan sear the fillets for about 3-5 minutes (depending on thickness), drizzling the marinade as it cooks and caramelizes. Flip and repeat until fish is just opaque/cooked throughout.
Alternatively, you can bake the fish in its own marinate for about 20 min in an oven at 375F and broil for an additional 5 minutes (depending on thickness).
Chilean Sea Bass Sides
8-10 shiitake mushrooms
5-10 lotus slices (I used frozen, pre-cut)
salt and pepper, to taste
1 bunch choy sum (or any Asian vegetable of choice)
1 clove garlic, minced
~ 1/3 cup water (or extra mushroom broth)
Put shittake mushrooms and just enough water to cover in a pot. Boil for about 5 min, then reduce to a simmer while the pot covered for additional 15 minutes. Add soy sauce to taste.
Place lotus slices on foil and cover with sesame oil and salt and pepper. Bake at 375 F for 30 minutes, until crispy. I did not defrost mine, so reduce/adjust baking time of your lotus is defrosted or fresh.
Cut off the ends of the choy sum. Stir fry the choy sum and garlic with oil in a wok on high heat for a few minutes. Add water to the vegetables; cover the top and reduce to low for 5-10 min to steam the vegetables. Drizzle with sesame oil.
To plate, lay the vegetables first, then rice (packed in a square), then perch the sea bass on top. Drizzle the mushroom broth on the plate. Enjoy!