Fare With a Flair: Poached cod a soup-er shift to fall cuisine

Autumn is officially here and I’m slowly transitioning from outdoor cooking and dining to indoor meals.

I want to gently ease into soup making and eventually to more hearty comfort foods.

My recipe this week is the perfect transition.

I love fish — for its ease and speed of preparation — so I turned to my Asian pantry staples to prepare the following dish of cod poached in a broth that includes onions, ginger, mushrooms, soy sauce and a bit of chili paste.

The poaching liquid almost becomes a “soup” that the fish sits atop.

I recommend cod or halibut. Their firm flesh can hold up well to the gentle poaching.

Just as the fish was starting to flake, I scattered a large handful of local spinach and some sliced green onions over top. If you like cilantro, use that as your final garnish.

Serve a bowl of steamed rice to the side and some extra chili sauce or paste for those who want to add some more heat.

This is a great way to usher in fall.

Easy Asian-style Poached Fish

(Serves 4)

1 tbsp (15 ml) vegetable oil

1 onion, sliced thinly

1 tbsp (15 ml) minced ginger

3 cups (750 ml) sliced Asian mushrooms (shiitake, maitake, king oyster)

2 cups (500 ml) water

1/4 cup (50 ml) soy sauce

3/4 tsp (4 ml) hot chili sauce

1 tbsp (15 ml) hoisin sauce or oyster sauce

4 – 5 oz. (150 g) cod or halibut filets

4 cups (1 L) baby spinach

2 green onions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)

Heat oil in small saute pan, large saucepan or wok over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft and starting to turn light golden colour. Add ginger and mushrooms and cook until mushrooms start to soften. Add water, soy sauce, hot sauce and hoisin sauce and bring back to gentle simmer. Place fish in simmering liquid. Spoon broth over top of fish. Reduce heat to gentle simmer. Spoon broth over fish several times until fish just starts to show signs of flaking (8-10 minutes.) Add spinach and green onions and cover. Remove from heat. Let sit one minute. Carefully remove fish from liquid to shallow bowl. Spoon spinach and mushroom mixture over top. Spoon broth over top. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.

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