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Crisp Red-Cooked Bass Fillets

1 1/2 tb Soy sauce
1 tb Scotch or medium-dry Sherry
1 ts Minced peeled fresh gingerroot
1/2 ts Sugar
1 tb Cornstarch
1/4 ts Aniseed; crushed with a rolling pin
1/8 ts Cinnamon
3/4 c Water
Two; (1/2-pound) black bass, snapper, or other white fish fillets with skin
1 tb Vegetable oil
1 Scallion; minced


In a small saucepan whisk together the soy sauce, the Scotch, the gingerroot, the sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of the cornstarch, the aniseed, the cinnamon, and the water, bring the mixture to a boil, whisking, and simmer it, covered, for 5 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, pat the fillets dry between paper towels and rub both sides with the remaining 2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch, shaking off the excess. In a large non-stick skillet heat the oil over moderately high heat until it just begins to smoke, add the fillets, skin sides down, and sear them, pressing them with a metal spatula to flatten them, for 4 minutes. Turn the fillets, strain the soy sauce mixture through a fine sieve into the skillet, and simmer the mixture for 3 minutes, or until the fish just flakes. Transfer the fillets, skin sides up, with a slotted spatula to plates and simmer the sauce, stirring, for 1 minute, or until it is thickened slightly. Spoon the sauce around the fillets and sprinkle the fillets with the scallion.

Serves 2.




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