This is no fish tale. Here's a way to cook your (whole) fish and eat it, too. If you set soy-sesame-marinated fish in the bottom of a basic bamboo steamer basket, put a couple of vegetable sides (here I used broccolini and thinly sliced sweet potatoes) in the layer above it, and steam them, everything will be cooked to perfection in about 15 minutes. That's a complete meal in one deft move, without any grease to clean up.
Don't let the idea of handling whole fish turn you off. They're less expensive than fillets, tastier (just as any meat on the bone is), and thoroughly satisfying to eat once you learn the simple art of boning. Using a steamer basket is the perfect cooking method. There's no flipping and no risk of the fish sticking to a pan, and no added fat is needed since the combination of bones and the moisture from the steaming helps prevent the fish from drying out.
As for boning, it's really a cinch. Starting on the side of the fish that's faceup, gently fork the flaky white meat from the bones underneath. Then, in a single move, lift out the exposed spine and bones in one piece, from the tail right on up to the head -- revealing the second, pristine fillet underneath. (By the way, if I had you at the steamer basket but lost you at the whole fish, remember: boneless fillets, four for two people, will taste good, too.)
Get the Steamed Black Bass with Ginger and Scallions Recipe.