This month, I racked my brain (therefore concluding that I do, in fact, have one, albeit hidden under blonde) as to what to cook for November’s Monthly Mystery Munchies. We haven’t done a fish dish yet, and I wanted to do something with a difference, so the theme was fish with an ingredient/s not commonly used. Ann from Grubbs n Critters was happy to do this theme, although we were both initially stumped. Now that I had a theme, I had the challenge of deciding what to use as my surprise ingredient. Fish with a soy sauce reduction is quite a popular choice, but it wasn’t original, intriguing if you will. I liked the idea but needed to add a ‘wow’ factor. I love citrus anything, so I added orange juice and rind, and then chocolate, because why not? It sounds incredibly strange, bizarre, maybe even more ‘ew’ than ‘wow’. But this is why Ann and I do our monthly challenge – we push our boundaries, we try new things, and we learn, and it’s a lot of fun.
In trying to get the reduction portions right, I attempted it with rump steak and bone-in chicken breasts too. The first attempt was an important learning curve – the chocolate was unnoticeable. Bummer. Much disappointment. I was so looking forward to having dinner and dessert in one dish. I initially only used dark chocolate, but it was time to up my game. Enter cocoa powder. Now we’re talking! Or rather, not talking, because my mouth was pretty full. I also decided to use cayenne pepper because I love a bite. Right, now that the orange, dark chocolate, cayenne and soy were to my liking, it was time to pair it with fish. But what fish? So many options. I tried two – Cape yellowtail and hake. Yellowtail is a ‘fishier’ fish whereas hake is more mild. The Husband and I enjoyed both, and it’s entirely dependant on your personal preference. I lean towards hake, he leans towards yellowtail. The important fact is that the reduction perfectly compliments both. As I mentioned earlier, this reduction may be used with both chicken and steak, but there’s something about using it with fresh fish that has a je nes se qua.
Please head over to Grubbs n Critters to see Ann’s wonderful interpretation of this month’s theme! She always brings her A-game and this month is no exception! She made dory fish with a creamy golden kiwi sauce. Kiwis! It seems we were vibing from afar, both using fruit. What a delicious-looking and sounding dish! Well done, Ann, and thank you so much for being such a good sport about, let’s face it, a weird and difficult challenge!
Fish with Orange and Dark Chocolate Soy Sauce Reduction
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup orange juice
1 teaspoon orange rind
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
30g chopped dark chocolate
4 pieces filleted fish (I used Yellowtail and hake)
Butter for frying
Making it happen:
1. Combine all the ingredients, except the dark chocolate and butter, in a pot. Simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 20 minutes, stir in the dark chocolate until melted. Allow the sauce to cool.
3. Remove from the fridge. On medium heat, using a large pan, melt the butter (about 2 tablespoons) and add the fish to the pan, pouring the remaining sauce over it. Fry on medium heat for 4-5 minutes per side. This is dependent on the thickness of the fish, so check the fish after 3 minutes.