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Cooking with Chef Jamie Leeds

Chef Jamie Leeds

Chef Jamie Leeds — Photo by Penny Nail Photography

Fruits of the sea can blossom in your own kitchen

Jamie Leeds wears many hats in life: mother, businesswoman, mentor, board member and award- winner. She is most well-known, however, for her chef’s hat as the owner and founder of Hank’s Oyster Bar, with two locations in Washington, D.C., and one in Old Town Alexandria.

Hank’s has become a popular neighborhood restaurant known for coastal fare and beach food. In 2007, the establishment was nominated for “Best Neighborhood Restaurant” by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington.

Leeds’ passion for seafood was inspired by her father, the namesake Hank, who loved to fish and cook. “He loved to cook seafood,” Leeds says. “I remember making shrimp, clams, and oysters with him.”

When it comes to cooking great seafood at Hank’s, Leeds takes pride in making sure her guests have a relaxed and comfortable experience, much like home.

She met us in the kitchen to share two recipes with Tagg readers. If you have been to any of her three locations, you may recognize these delicious fish dishes. “The Soy and Ginger Marinated Sablefish is a Hank’s classic. It’s a signature dish of ours. Sablefish is also known as black cod,” Leeds shares. “I’ve had it on the menu since the very beginning.”

With the Moroccan Steamed Striped Bass, you’ll enjoy a lean and protein-rich meal with enjoyable flavors. This dish has been offered in the past at Hank’s. However, instead of waiting for it to appear on the next menu, you can now cook it yourself.

So what are you waiting for? From Leeds’ kitchen to yours, grab an apron and get cooking!


Soy and Ginger Marinated Sablefish

4 Sablefish, skinned and boned (Serves 6-8)
  • 1/4 cup ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp shallot, chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

Combine all and mix well. Place sablefish in marinade for at least 12 hours.
When ready to serve, broil sablefish for about 8-10 minutes. Let top get dark and caramelized. Serve with a simple salad of watercress, and top with toasted sesame seeds.


Moroccan Steamed Striped Bass with Preserved Lemons

  • 4 8 oz. fillets of skinless Striped Bass
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 oz. preserved lemon relish
  • 1 bushel of watercress
For Dry Rub:
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tbsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 3 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp crushed chili flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper

Mix all thoroughly.

For Preserved Lemons:
  • 5 seedless lemons, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice

Mix all and make sure lemon slices are thoroughly coated. Takes 3-5 days, or until rinds are no longer bitter.

Season each fillet with sea salt then coat with dry rub. Place in a food-sealer bag with olive oil and Cryovac each piece individually. This can be done up to 8 hours in advance. When ready for plating, steam or broil for 6-8 minutes. Place fish on plate being careful to keep all juices. Place 3 slices of preserved lemon on top and serve immediately with watercress garnish.