I’ve recently found success in using my slow cooker as a reliable steamer with my try on the classic dim sum dish of pork spare ribs. Going by this same technique, steaming a whole piece of fish should certainly be possible.
I happened to find very fresh Pompano at the market and immediately thought of steaming it. For me, aside from making a ceviche, steaming would best showcase that freshness.
Start working on your fish. Remove the gills, intestines, and scales. Trim off the fins and make deep diagonal cuts into the flesh. These cuts would allow the flavors from our steaming liquid to permeate into the flesh and would also ensure even cooking.
You can certainly use any white-flesh fish here. Some I would suggest would be snapper, grouper, seabass, tilapia, and halibut.
Mix up a flavored steaming liquid. I made a mix of soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil, honey, and Chinese cooking wine.
Create your own mix of flavors. Use some fresh citrus, white wine, an assortment of fresh mushrooms, fresh herbs. . . you’ll hardly go wrong here. Just keep the flavors light as fish has a really delicate taste which can easily be overpowered.
Time to ‘build’ a steamer insert for your slow cooker. You basically want to rest your fish on something that will keep it from touching the liquid at the bottom of your pot. You can put it on a plate set on top of a heat proof stand such as a ramekin or a soup bowl.
Or, like I did here, you can rest your fish on a bed of aromatics. Aside from keeping the fish off of the pot’s bottom, those stalks of leeks would flavor our sauce and give off a very wonderful aroma.
You may use lemongrass, onion halves, thick slices of ginger, or stalks of celery for this purpose. Aside from the structure you need, keep the flavors in mind too. You basically want to choose ingredients that would enhance the flavors of the sauce you intend to create.
You may also go for some root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and parsnips which would make for excellent vegetable components to your dish as well.
Set the fish on top that bed of leeks then pour in the soy-ginger mixture. Put the lid on and steam for about an hour on high. Adjust cooking time depending on the size of fish you’ll be using. Also, keep in mind that you’ll be needing less cooking time if you’re using fillets.
You may use a meat thermometer to check for the doneness of the fish, going for a minimum reading of 145F. Or, you can simply pull out some of the top fins which should come off neat and easy if the fish is done.
Carefully transfer the Pompano to a serving platter, ladle the sauce on top, and sprinkle lots of fried garlic and chopped cilantro. A side of chili sauce would be perfect too.