Chinese Salted Fish and Eggplant Clay Pot

The last time we were in San Francisco, we went to our favorite Chinese fine dining restaurant. I always order the salted fish and eggplant cooked in a clay pot. This time, I tried to dissect the recipe. The ingredient I’d have to buy is the salted fish in order to do this the way they did. The last time I went to the Asian grocery store, I bought one of the jars of salted fish. It seemed like it might be the right stuff. Well…

I prepped all the veggies and the clay pot. Long eggplant, red pepper, green onion, garlic, ginger, carrot… I had it all laid out and ready to go. I opened the jar of salted fish and started to coat the veggies. I had already mixed a goodly proportion in when I noticed all the little bones. Was I supposed to cheesecloth them out? G said no. Still… I wasn’t impressed. And, as it started to simmer and slow cook, I just wasn’t happy with the flavor. In the end, G seemed to like the meal, yet I was less than enchanted. The dish I ate in SanFran wasn’t boney. And the flavor was much better. Since I’m extremely familiar with the flavor of all the veggies involved, it had to be the salted fish.

I’m still musing what I might do to redeem this recipe. Obviously, I won’t be using that jar of salted fish. You know, every time I try opening a can or jar of something to add, I’m almost always less than thrilled. Everything always tastes better when I make the sauces or spice blends myself. Hey, that’s why I have a mortar and pestle, right? I think I’ll have to try salting my own fish and using that as the recipe base in the future. I’ll probably use a white fish. We’ll see. This dish clearly needs a bit of work. I like the concept, though, so I’m going to give it another go. It’s just so convenient to have a huge clay pot of something stew-like ready to eat when we are. I just take the pot from the fridge before lunch and put some low low heat under it. By the time we’re hungry for supper, waiting for us. Very convenient.
Salted Fish clay pot

Breathe deeply,
Laugh with abandon,
Love wholly,
Eat well.

MiLady Carol

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