Don't you love my artfully drizzled teriyaki sauce around the plate??? I'll work on my food styling next time! The other components of this recipe, however, are definitely worthy of your culinary consideration.
They come straight out of the a new cookbook I've been enjoying--Golden Door Cooks at Home: Favorite recipes from the celebrated spa. I have a review copy, so the many photos are black and white, but I don't really need pictures to be excited about these recipes--they sound totally delicious. I interviewed the Golden Door's executive chef, Dean Rucker, a while back for an article, and he was genuinely enthusiastic about sensible, healthy eating where moderation is key. There aren't too many spa tricks in his book (no fake butter or 101 ideas for tofu), just fresh, unprocessed ingredients to create meals that would appeal to anyone.
It's a very comprehensive cookbook from basics to appetizers to meat and fish, as well as chapters full of yummy and thoughtful breakfasts and desserts. There are even some yeast bread recipes. I hate it when cookbooks depict recipes on some kind of gorgeous artisan bread that you know you'll never be able to find! Not the case here.
This happens to be the only "spa food" cookbook I own. If you're discouraged by the idea of spa food, this book might change your mind. I'd equate it more to a gourmet healthy cookbook. The serving sizes are smaller than is typical (4 ounces of fish instead of 6, for example), but the meals don't feel spartan or at all diet-like.
I really want to make the Golden Door's ketchup with juniper berries (even though Mike would think it utterly pointless to make something you can purchase so easily and cheaply). A couple more I bookmarked to try are "Crispy potato cakes with chive scrambled eggs and smoked salmon," and "Parmesan chicken schnitzel with warm potato and garden bean salad and creamy mustard sauce." A lot of long recipe titles in this book...
I think the authors really made an effort make it accessible to home cooks, although a few of the main dishes have multiple components, which may be a lot of work to pull off. That was the case in the teriyaki recipe (it included little sauteed rice cakes make with sushi rice), so I streamlined it and served the fish and bok choy with simple steamed brown rice instead. If you've never made bok choy, it's easy (just blanche and sear) and delicious with the teriyaki glaze.
Now, would it be totally ridiculous to go on a spa vacation just to eat the food?
Teriyaki Striped Bass with Bok Choy
Adapted from Golden Door Cooks at Home by Dean Rucker with Marah Stets
The original recipe called for black cod, which was unavailable. Look for firm white fish fillets or steaks, about 1-inch thick. To serve 2, I used one large striped bass steak, which has a nice amount of fat and meaty, soft flesh. Rucker also suggests Alaskan cod, true cod, or sablefish.
3 baby bok choy, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup mirin
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
2 (6-ounce) skinless striped bass or black cod fillets or one large bass steak
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup sliced scallions, for garnish
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
Blanche the bok choy: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and fill a large bowl with ice water. Add the bok choy to the boiling water, wait for water to return to boiling and cook 1 minute (bok choy shouldn't be in water more than about 2 minutes total). Transfer to ice water to stop the cooking, 2 minutes. Drain and transfer to paper towels to dry.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. To make the teriyaki sauce, combine the soy, orange juice, mirin and ginger in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until reduced by half. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and 1 teaspoon water; stir in the simmering teriyaki, cook for 30 seconds more and remove from heat.
Season the fish with a very small amount of salt (remember the teriyaki sauce is salty; you can always add more later) and black pepper. Heat an oven proof skillet over medium-high heat and coat with cooking spray. Add the fish flesh side down (opposite where the skin was) and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Turn the fish, remove from heat and drizzle one half of the teriyaki over the top, swirling the pan to thoroughly coat the fish. Transfer to the oven and cook until the fish is just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes.
To finish the bok choy, heat a large skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Add the bok choy, cut side down and cook until browned, about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and brown opposite side, 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer to plates, season with a small amount of salt and black pepper and drizzle with remaining teriyaki. Serve with striped bass and sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds if using.