vegetable oil, for frying

1 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks plus 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon toasted-sesame oil

4 scallions, cut into 1/2-inch lengths

4 6-ounce wild striped bass fillets, with skin

salt and freshly ground white pepper

1 teaspoon Chinese fermented black beans, rinsed and minced

2 jalapeños, thinly sliced into rounds and seeded

2 tablespoon chopped cilantro


1. In a skillet, heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil. Add the ginger matchsticks and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden brown, 4 minutes. Transfer the ginger to paper towels to drain, leaving the oil in the skillet.

2. In a bowl, whisk the soy sauce with the rice wine, sugar and sesame oil. Set a bamboo steamer over a wok or an open steamer over a large, deep skillet. Add 2 inches of water to the wok and bring to a boil. Scatter the dark green parts of the scallions on a heatproof plate that will fit inside the steamer. Set the fish on the plate, skin side up. Using a knife, make 3 shallow slashes in the skin of each fillet. Pour the soy mixture over the fish and rub it all over. Season the fish lightly with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the black beans and minced ginger on top. Set the plate in the steamer. Cover and steam for 7 minutes, until the fish is just cooked.

3. Just before the fish is done, reheat the oil in the skillet. Add the remaining scallions and the jalapeños and cook over moderate heat for about 2 minutes. Transfer the fish and its juices to shallow bowls. Top with the fried scallions, jalapeños and ginger matchsticks. Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve.

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