Cod with Malaysian Chili Sauce

The robust spicy-sweet sauce in this dish is the perfect accompaniment to the subtle flavor of cod. Crunchy bits of celery are a welcome textural addition too. The bright green Thai Basil Oil brightens up the jamlike sauce. Serve this with steamed white rice.

Recipe from Asian Flavors of Jean-Georges by Jean-Georges Vongerichten/Clarkson Potter, 2007.

Cod with Malaysian Chili Sauce

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    Ingredients

    1/4 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons grape seed, corn, or other neutral oil 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
    5 garlic cloves, minced 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
    2 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger 5 scallions, trimmed and sliced, green and white parts separated
    2 1/2 tablespoons Guilin chili sauce 4 6-ounce cod fillets, 11/2 inches thick
    1 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, plus more to taste
    2 teaspoons rice vinegar 4 celery stalks, trimmed and diced, 4 leaves reserved for garnish
    2 1/2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine Thai basil oil, for garnish (optional)

    directions

    Total:
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    • 1

      Preheat the oven to 350°F.

    • 2

      Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the chili sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, wine, sugar, salt, and scallion whites and turn the heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick like jam, about 10 minutes. Add the scallion greens and simmer just until cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

    • 3

      Put the remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium -high heat. Season the cod fillets with salt and white pepper, then add to the skillet. Cook for 30 seconds, then transfer the fish to the oven. Cook until a thin-bladed knife pierces through the flesh easily, about 8 minutes.

    • 4

      Meanwhile, put the celery in a small saucepan and add just enough water to coat the bottom of the pan. Set over ­medium-­high heat and cook until bright green and warmed through, about 4 minutes. Drain.

    • 5

      If the sauce has cooled, reheat it gently over ­medium-­low heat. Season to taste with salt, then divide the sauce among the serving plates. Put the fish fillets on top of the sauce and the celery on top of the fish. Drizzle the thai basil oil around the plate, garnish with celery leaves, and serve.

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