One of the interesting things about hurricane season in the Caribbean is the variety of fish that we get that cannot be found at any other time of the year. Thanks to fish migration, I welcome the opportunity to try fish that I have never heard of before, much less tasted. I am fortunate to have made friends with an owner of one of the fishing vessels at Oistin's. Wendell has been introducing me to other types of fish and it's quite an education.
For me, fresh seafood begs to be prepared in the simplest of ways so that you can taste the flavor and experience the texture. Each fish has its own texture, though there are similarities in some varieties. Of course the application/method used to cook the fish can determine the final texture of the fish. The seasonings used also contribute to the overall flavor of the fish and the dish as a whole.
I've never had Black Jack fish before. This is one of the fish that Wendell introduced me to. It is a favorite among fisher folk. I bought a couple, had a guy at the market it clean it for me and headed home to make an all-time Caribbean favorite – steamed fish.
There is no particular recipe for this dish. Here's what I did.
Once cleaned, the fish was washed well and pat dry, I seasoned it with lots of freshly ground black pepper, sea salt and a sprinkling of packet-fish seasoning. I cut up some hot peppers, removing the seeds and sliced up some green onions/scallions. Then I got two sprigs of fresh Guyanese/Portuguese thyme which I placed 1 sprig each on both pieces of fish while they were steaming so the flavour would permeate the fish.
Next, the fish was steamed in my Chinese bamboo steamer. First I lined the baskets with foil and then parchment paper before adding the fish. You can use a plate if you like. Let the pot or pan with water come up to a boil first and then place the baskets on top and steam for 12 to 14 minutes or until fish is cooked through and flakes easily. Add the hot peppers and green onions as soon as the fish is done cooking, cover and let rest for an additional 2 minutes.
Remove the fish with the paper and its juices and transfer to a plate or serving dish – fish and juices. Squeeze some fresh lime or lemon juice onto the fish and getting some of the lime/lemon in the fish juices as well. Serve hot.