Poached Kingklip with Spicy Ginger Butter Sauce

I was craving a fish dish, which is not unusual, since I barely include meat in my diet. So, when I get these types of cravings I know my body is missing some type of nutrients that can only be satisfied with a heavy dose of protein. So when I stopped at the supermarket to buy carrots, I passed the fish counter and I took a peek.

And saw a nice filet of a fish that for all intent and purpose looked like grouper; but was way cheaper.

I asked the fish guys what it was and he responded with kingklip.

The hell?  So my next question was what type of fish was it? And his response was “it’s like a grouper.”

It was on sale, so off I went with my filet to ask the gods Google about kingklip. 

Well sorry, fish counter guy you get an “F” because it’s not like grouper; in fact it comes from the eel family and can be found in South African waters and off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of South America.  Apparently there is an expensive variety which is red or golden but it can be substituted with a cheaper black variety, which tends to be lighter, larger and firmer than the meat of its more expensive cousins.

I totally got the black type.

I also got the hillbilly because, if there is any type of fish that I don’t like, it’s eel and after I saw a picture of the actual fish, even more so.

That thing is ugly!  Like, butt-ugly, not appetizing at all. But then so are lobsters – so I took one for the team, and decided to give the fish a chance.

Next up… how to cook it?  According to more Google searching you can smoke, poach, bake, steam, stew and grill it.

Options were good.  I decided that I wanted something with sauce, just in case it did not have much of a taste and started to look at my refrigerator for ingredients.

Butter, wine, had some green onions, limes, cream, parsley and garlic paste (or what I thought was garlic).

My filet did not have any type of skin on it, so I wanted to sort of sear it a bit but at the same time cook it a bit gently – like a poach/steam dual method. 

I started with a hot sautéed pan and dropped some butter, when it started to bubble up, I added the chopped green onions and let it cook until soft.  Then I slipped in the fish portions, which I had previously seasoned with some salt and pepper all over. I let them soak up some of the onion flavored butter and then added some white wine. During the pouring I realized that I did not have enough liquid, so I looked around and set my sights on some chicken stock that I had left over. I added it in as well. I lowered the temperature to medium and let it simmer a bit, just until the fish got bright white.

It took like 2-3 minutes, I pulled the fish off the pan and set them in a platter and covered them to keep hot.  Back to my pan I went and raised the temperature to medium high and let the liquid reduced a bit.

At that point I started to add cubes of butter a few at a time and whisked until they had all melted and the sauce was a bit shiny and thick.  At this point I added some cream and let it warm through.  I followed up with some lime zest, lime juice, garlic paste which then realize it was ginger instead and a dash of chili paste.

I panicked a bit when I realized my mistake with the garlic/ginger but then tasted it and it was not bad, not bad at all.  I adjusted the flavor a bit more by seasoning it with some salt and pepper and then added some chopped parsley. 

Sauce was done!  Poured it over the fillets and it was good.

The fish was light, meaty and flaky, the way I like my white fish to be and the sauce totally worked. It had a tangy taste from the lime juice and the ginger gave it that added deep flavor.  It was lip-smacking good.

I can totally see this sauce working with shrimp too.

Here is the recipe. Note: I am approximating most of the measurements, since I did this on the fly.

Serves 2 

  • 1 pound of kingklip fillet (or any other type of meaty white fish), cut into portions.
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 2-3 green onions, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup of white wine
  • ¼ cup of chicken stock

For the Sauce 

  • ¼ cup of cream
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons of butter
  • Zest of a lime (or lemon)
  • Juice of a lime (or lemon)
  • 1/8 teaspoon Chili paste
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger paste
  • handful of chopped parsley