A tropical crop in the the north country? Why not? The fresh ginger harvest is starting in the Northeast, and it’s a delightful addition to our meals.
For the last five years or so, fresh ginger has appeared at our farm stands in late summer and fall. Until then, I had never seen or tasted the succulent, flavorful fresh rhizomes, depending on the standard grocery store offerings which are much older and less pungent. Thin-skinned and intense in flavor, fresh ginger is definitely a tropical treat, that grows surprisingly well here.
Let’s try something different
Our farmers realized that ginger loves our long summer daylight hours and humid climate. Rhizomes are purchased from Hawaii in spring and planted in greenhouses where they are nurtured all summer with care. One farm stand employee planted hers outside in her garden with no special covering, and is having a lovely crop this year.
I happened upon some beautiful rhizomes at a local farm stand this week, and to my delight they kept the leaves intact. Another first for me, I’d not used the leaves and stems previously, and found they are lightly scented of ginger as well. There wasn’t much on-line about what to do with them, other than chop then finely and use as a garnish or toss into soups and stews or make a tea. I did find one recipe for using the stems for a ginger syrup, which was basically just infusing a simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water) with the cut-up and bruised stems. The ginger stem syrup came out delicious!
Not just a tasty spice
Ginger has been used medicinally for thousands of years. It is a great antidote for nausea, is a strong anti-inflammatory, and has been noted as having a positive effect on blood pressure. It will also add a little zip to many recipes, and is delicious fresh, steeped, cooked, candied, pickled, and in syrups.
Tuck extra ginger in the freezer. It will keep all winter, and is a breeze to grate when it is frozen. The skins are so thin on these new rhizomes that they don’t need to be peeled. Actually, I rarely peel even the older ginger, just grate it all up and don’t bother with that awkward scraping of the peeling with a teaspoon, or a paring knife that takes half the flesh.
Let’s add some orange
Ginger and citrus are great companions, and marmalade was calling my name with its slightly bitter notes. Some lovely cod at the fish market, and this dish sort of created itself. You can quite easily substitute tofu for the fish, and everyone is happy.
Of course there are alternatives
It is easy, quick, and quite tasty. If you can’t find fresh ginger, use what your market carries, just add a bit more. Don’t worry if you don’t have the leaves, their addition to the recipe is rather subtle, and probably more decorative. You can also substitute another favorite white fish, or the mentioned tofu.
Don’t waste the sauce
Serve with rice and fresh vegetables, roasted or steamed. The sauce is nice drizzled over it all.
Time to eat!
Fresh Ginger and Marmalade Glazed Cod
- ½ to 1 oz. fresh ginger, grated on microplane
- 1 tbsp. fresh ginger leaves, finely minced
- 1 tbsp. scallions, minced
- 2 tbsp. marmalade (I used Dundee)
- 2 tbsp. mirin, or white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp. tamari
- 2 tbsp. orange juice
- Zest of ½ orange
- 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
- 1 heaping tbsp. grainy mustard
- Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
- 1 lb. cod, cut into segments
- More scallions to garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk together all the sauce ingredients, starting with the lesser amount of ginger. Taste. Do you need to add more ginger, or more of something else? Place the cod in a baking dish and add the marinade, turning the fish over to coat all sides. Season with pepper if desired, but you will not need salt. Let sit for 20 minutes.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the fish is tender. Serve with rice and vegetables, drizzled with the sauce.
You can quite easily substitute firm tofu for the white fish!
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