Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Saba Hoedeopbap, Mackerel Fried Rice

I'm still thinking about that place, so I'm sharing one more recipe before I move on to more July 4th-ish things.  This meal's got a little more... fusion.  It's based on my love of Japanese saba rice (stir-fried rice with cured mackerel) and a Korean bipbimbop or hoedeopbap where cooked rice and raw fish and veggies gets thrown in a super hot bowl and topped with an egg yolk before you add sauce and stir it around as so it cooks through.

I was going to do a bipbimbop with a firm-fleshed fish, but they didn't have quite what I wanted at the counter and the Spanish mackerel looked shiny and fresh and I suddenly remembered how much I loved oily-fish fried rice -- it's like the seafood version of chorizo fried rice, and it's some very yummy, stick to your ribs, belly-filling goodness.  I figured combining with greens and a rich sauce bipbimbop-style wasn't going to hurt it any and extra crunchy rice bits could only make it better. [I was right!]

[Speaking of the sauce, I was going to use fish sauce as a component until I noticed the expiration date on mine (ew) but it turns out the primary ingredient is anchovy puree and I keep a tube of anchovy paste in my fridge to punch up pasta sauces... unless my little brother is watching.]

As for the cooking method, it was too hot in my tiny place to use my broiler to get the pot as hot as a real bipbimbop and I wanted to make sure my mackerel was fully cooked, so this variation uses two pans (plus whatever you use to cook the rice ahead of time).

Recipe: Spanish Mackerel Fried Rice

I bought one whole fish and wrapped the other fillet in double layers of paper towel and tight plastic wrap to refrigerate for the next day.  The rice gets cooked in the serving bowl, so plan accordingly.  It's best to have everything measured out into small bowls so you can dump them quickly when the time comes.
serves 2

2 tbs olive or canola oil
1 Spanish mackerel fillet ~1/2 lb, checked for bones, pat dry with paper towel
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup greens and/or sprouts, roughly chopped [I used aroogula and pea shoots]
2 entire scallions, sliced thin [green and white parts]
1/4 cup loosely packed bonito flakes [optional, double the anchovy or fish sauce if omitting] 
1/2 tsp togarashi pepper blend or 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 egg yolk

1 tbs shoyu (soy sauce)
1 tsp mirn (sweet rice wine)
1 tsp water
1/4 tsp anchovy paste or 1/2 tsp fish sauce

Whisk together shoyu, mirin, and anchovy paste and transfer to a small bowl to pour at the table. Heat a large skillet over high heat. [Use a skillet large enough to accommodate the entire fillet or cut it in half].  Heat a second deeper skillet or pot (not non-stick) or small stovetop-safe casserole dish, also over high heat.  Add 1 tbs oil to each.  Lay the fish skin-side down in the larger skillet and gently press down.  Add the rice to the pot and spread in an even layer. Spread the greens evenly over the rice and cover with a lid.
Once the fish starts to turn opaque around the edges, ~2-3 minutes, flip it over, turn off the heat, and let the fish finish cooking with the residual heat [leave the skillet on the burner], another ~2 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and slice into ~1-inch squares.   Remove cover from rice, scatter fish chunks, scallions, bonito flakes, and hot pepper over the greens, then slide the egg yolk on top.
Transfer to the table. [Use a trivet.] Pour sauce all around the edges and use a metal serving spoon to quickly break the yolk and stir it all together, scraping all stuck bits from the bottom of the pot. Serve immediately.

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