Instead, I decided to steam all the fillets together in a single makeshift packet: a foil-covered metal baking pan. I arranged four skinless cod fillets in the pan and topped them with some sliced garlic and neatly julienned scallions and ginger. Next I pondered the cooking liquid. Since the fillets would be sitting in the liquid rather than above it in a steamer, it made sense to follow the French method and use something more flavorful than plain water. As a starting point, I whisked together a few tablespoons of soy sauce, some rice wine, and a bit of nutty toasted sesame oil; poured it around the fillets; and then covered the pan tightly with foil. After about 15 minutes in a 450-degree oven, the fillets hit their target doneness temperature of 135 degrees.
I worked carefully to maneuver the tidy fillets onto the serving platter, but they flaked apart anyway. Then, when I finished them with sliced scallions and a splash of hot oil (which sent up an enticing aroma), the combined effect of carryover cooking and the oil caused them to overcook slightly. The presentation wasn’t great either: The now‑soggy aromatics clung to the top of the fish.