Nobu’s Black Cod with Miso

24 Feb

Serves 4

Nobu-Style Miso:
3/4 cup mirin
1/2 cup sake
2 cups white miso paste
1 cup sugar

4 black cod fillets, about 1/2 pound each
1 stalk hajikami

Note: side of grated daikon, and fermented soybean from Fujiya.

My friend Nobu Matsuhisa shared this signature recipe with me when he appeared on my Food Network TV show. The recipe is adapted from his beautiful “Nobu: The Cookbook” (Kodansha International, 2001). The hajikami garnish he calls for is a pickled ginger shoot, which you can find in Japanese markets; regular sliced pickled ginger may be substituted. You’ll find the sake, mirin, and white miso not only in Japanese markets but also in most well-stocked supermarkets. You can use sea bass fillets in place of the cod.

1. First, make the Nobu-Style Miso: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the mirin and sake and boil for 20 seconds to evaporate the alcohol. Add the miso paste and stir with a wooden spoon until it dissolves completely. Add the sugar, raise the heat to high, and stir continuously until it has dissolved completely. Remove the pan from the heat and leave at room temperature until the mixture has cooled completely.

2. Pat the black cod fillets thoroughly dry with paper towels. Put them in a nonreactive dish or bowl and slather them with the Nobu-style miso, saving a few spoonfuls of the sauce in a small covered bowl in the refrigerator to use as a garnish. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 3 days.

3. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Preheat a grill or broiler. Lightly wipe off any excess miso clinging to the fillets, but don’t rinse it off. Place the fish on the grill or under the broiler and cook just until its surface turns brown. Then transfer to a baking dish and cook in the oven until the fish is just opaque in its center, 10 to 15 minutes more.

4. Arrange the black cod fillets on individual plates and garnish with hajikami. Add a few extra drops of Nobu-style miso around each plate.

From Wolfgang Puck

Update Feb 25th: That mirin, sake, white miso and sugar concoction is delicious! Could not stop fondling the cod – supple as a baby’s bottom. Best is from Japanese fishmongers. Got mine from a store right beside the Airport Plaza at the end of Granville. This will be eaten on Friday. Experimenting with grilling and broiling to see which method is better.

Update Feb 27th: Grilled first, then in the oven. Remember to scrape off all the miso or it will burn in the grill and then in the oven. In the small toaster oven, 400F is too high and watch carefully. Other than that, it smelled delicious, and was so moist and juicy. Marinating it for 3 days might make it too salty though.

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