Sauces that are complex and require hours of reduction are wondrous kitchen assets, but so are the ones that take shortcuts to achieve the same lustrous results.
This recipe relies on ginger beer, which can be found at any supermarket and is really a carbonated, nonalcoholic beverage that is less sweet and more gingery than ginger ale. Keep a few bottles at the back of your refrigerator and they'll serve double duty, as refreshing drink and a cooking staple.
Here, it mingles with pan juices from just-sauteed fish fillets, plus butter, freshly grated ginger and lime juice. In less than 10 minutes, you have a slightly thickened, vaguely spicy and mildly sweet sauce for fish and steamed bok choy.
Cod With Ginger Beer and Bok Choy
Adapted from “So Good: 100 Recipes From My Kitchen to Yours,” by Richard Blais with Mary Goodbody (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017).
8 ounces baby bok choy or small bok choy
1 (1-inch) piece ginger root
Leaves from 2 to 4 stems cilantro
Cod fillets (6 to 8 ounces per person), about 3/4-inch thick
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sesame oil, preferably dark
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces ginger beer
Rinse the bok choy and discard any torn or discolored leaves. Cut the bok choy in half from top to bottom, and trim some of the bottoms if they are thick or tough.
Heat about 2 inches of water in a large saute pan. Bring to a boil over high heat.
Place a steamer basket in the pan, then arrange the bok choy in the basket. Season them lightly with salt and cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid; steam for 5 to 7 minutes, then uncover and turn off the heat.
Meanwhile, peel and grate the ginger. Finely chop the cilantro leaves. Season the fillets lightly with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil with 1 tablespoon butter in a separate saute pan over medium-high heat. Once the butter becomes foamy, add the fillets and cook 3 or 4 minutes per side (depending on their thickness), turning them over carefully, until just cooked through. Transfer them to a plate and cover loosely to keep warm.
Pour the ginger beer into the saute pan, stirring to incorporate. Reduce the heat to medium; cook for about 6 minutes, or until the mixture has reduced a bit to form a slightly thickened sauce. Use a wooden spatula to dislodge any browned bits.
Add the grated ginger, then cut the lime in half and squeeze its juice into the pan. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter, stirring to incorporate.
Divide the bok choy between warmed plates. Place the fish on top of each portion, then spoon the sauce over it. Scatter the cilantro over each. Serve right away.
Per serving: 430 calories, 32 g protein, 15 g carbohydrates, 27 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, 105 mg cholesterol, 280 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber, 13 g sugar
Yield: 2 servings