Baked fish with roasted kumara and creamy pomax sauce is a classic Southern-style dish. In fact, the first recipe for “Baked Fish with Kumara and Creamy Pomax” was created more than 150 years ago in Gaffney, South Carolina. The fish was baked on a hot brick barbecue grill. A sweet, thick coating of vinegar, spices and bread crumbs was then added to the grill. After a few hours of cooking the fish was juicy and delicious.
This delicious treat became South Carolina’s state dish. The sauce was then called, simply, “Kumara” and later “Caper”. No longer do we use the word “baked fish” when referring to this southern-inspired dish. It is now commonly called, “Creamy Pomade” or “Shrimp and Caper Sauce”. No matter what name we use, it is absolutely delicious.
Before I begin, I should mention that the process of roasting fish in an oven is relatively easy. I generally just toss a couple of pieces on the basting brush. Using a food thermometer, I carefully monitor the temperature. Once the internal temperature of the fish reaches around 160 degrees, I carefully transfer the piece to the oven.
Once in the oven, I pre-heat the oven to the appropriate temperature. I prefer to pre-heat the fish in the oven a little longer than normal. This helps to seal in the flavors of the breading and the butter. After it is all cooked and cooled, I carefully slide the piece into the pre-heated oven. I let the fish bake for approximately 10 minutes.
Once fully baked, I carefully remove the fish from the oven. It is now ready to serve. To enhance the flavor, I opt for a drizzle of Creamy Caper Sauce. It is absolutely delicious. If you do not have Creamy Capers, simply substitute them with your favorite barbecue sauce.
To complete the dish, I serve the baked, basted fish on top of steamed white rice. By the way, the rice does not have to be brown. In fact, it is perfectly fine if it is white. You can also have it drizzled with some light cream. The final result is absolutely delicious!
The entire meal is served with freshly tossed salad leaves. I love the simplicity of this dish. If you are serving it to guests, I suggest having them gather around the table and share this baked fish with roasted kumara and creamy sauce. It is a very simple yet very tasty dish.
One word of caution: Always make sure you wash the fish thoroughly after preparing it. Always make sure the chef who prepared the fish prepared it properly. Do not overcook it. The sauce should remain on the fish as long as possible.
Before serving, I like to let the baked fish cool slightly. At the same time, I like to cut the kumara into pieces that are fine enough to be served on their own. If they are uncooked, they will keep the flavor much longer. If they are already browned, I would suggest serving them immediately so that they retain the most authentic essence of the fish.
The baked fish can be served as a starter or side dish whenever you are eating fish. I like it with steamed white rice. The baked fish makes a great accompaniment with grilled shrimp or chicken. It goes well with crepes. And it is good for dessert as well, such as when it’s mixed with custard or cream cheese.
To make baked fish into a dessert, you need to first roast the kumara until it is light golden brown. Then, make thin slices from the meat and spread out the slices on a plate. Add some grated parmesan cheese to the center of each slice and bake it in the oven until the cheese is melted. When it is done, it can go well with custard or cream cheese.
Or, you could add barbecue sauce to the baked fish. You should not let the sauce burn since this dish is mainly a cream-based sauce. In fact, cream sauces are more appropriate than vinegar sauces for baked fish. As a matter of fact, cream sauces are more appropriate than vinegar sauces for baked fish. They retain more essence of the fish and are more appetizing. They also go well with cream-based desserts such as chocolate cakes.