Poached Halibut in Shiitake Soy Broth

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Angela left on her own for Boston on a 6 AM flight.  I was surprised by her decision to fly back to Andover to visit her friends, many of whom will be graduating next month.  Angela has always hated to travel.  When we took her on a 3 week trip to Europe two years ago, she said we were “force feeding her caviar.”  When I wanted her to join me in Hungary, Malaysia and New Zealand this summer, she said emphatically, “No.  Why would I want to go there?  I hate traveling.  I will only fly when it’s necessary.”  No matter what I said, she could not be persuaded to go to these wonderfully exotic places to visit me.

Going to Andover to see her friends before they leave for college seems to be very important for Angela.  This is a new side of her that I didn’t know before — that she really cherished her ties with friends.  When she was in elementary school and middle school, I tried to organize playdates for her to develop stronger friendships, but she never wanted that.  I was afraid that she might take after me and be awkward and uncomfortable with people all her life.  In this sense I am happy and relieved that she is not like me.

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Angela (in red coat) with her friends in Andover from her first year there

When I asked her what she was going to do tomorrow with her friends, she said she would shadow them at their classes.  Angela is a true nerd who loves the classroom.  This is her way of bonding and spending time with her friends here at UHS, too.  She goes to their classes with them when she has a free period.  What kind of kid would want to go to classes that she didn’t have to go to?  But that is Angela for you. And I miss her terribly.

For dinner, I made this really delicious poached halibut. 

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Poached Halibut in Shiitake Soy Broth

4 6 ounces halibut

6 to 8 large dried shiitake mushrooms, or 12 to 16 fresh ones, sliced

1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce

1/2 cup Shaoxing cooking wine, or other Asian cooking wine

1 1/2 cup water

2 tablespoon goji berries (optional)

1 tablespoon xylitol or brown sugar

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

2 stocks green onion, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon ginger, thinly sliced + 4 thin slices for the broth

1 red jalapeño, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon cooking oil or sesame oil

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Preparation:

If you are planning to use the dried shiitake mushrooms, soak them in warm water for an hour and then wash them.  Save the soaking water, but not the sediments in the bottom.  Boil the shiitake in the soaking water to make them soft before slicing them.  Save the broth. 

If you are using fresh shiitake, wash and slice them and set aside.

In a cooking pan, on medium heat, heat up 1 1/2 cup of shiitake water, the sliced shiitake, the soy sauce, xylitol or sugar, goji berries, 4 slices of ginger and wine.  When the broth begins to boil, add the fish in and close the lid to cook for 6 to 8 minutes until the fish turns opaque.  Do not overcook; the fish meat will break apart and toughen if overcooked.

If there is not enough broth, add a little more water.  If the broth gets too deluded add a little more soy sauce.

When the fish is cooking, set a sauce pan on medium high.  Add 1 tablespoon of oil.  Test it with a slice of green onion or ginger to see if it sizzles.  When it does, add the sliced jalapeño, ginger and scallion in the oil and let it sizzle for about 45 seconds to a minute.

Separate the fish into 4 deep plates with equal amount of broth.  Pour the ginger, scallion jalapeño and the oil equally onto the 4 pieces of fish.  Serve immediately.

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