black cod with miso

11:43 PM sians 2 Comments

so this is how the whole story began.

it started off with my cravings for malaysian food which evolved into a food trip to arlington heights for grocery shopping and malaysian take out. this food trip involved going to mitsuwa, a japanese supermarket in the suburbs an hour away from downtown chicago which meant i needed a car to get there. a shopping trip to mitsuwa meant buying fresh sashimi and getting all the japanese ingredients that one may not find at a regular grocery store.

my friend, christina was ever so nice to agree to drive us there. i asked her what she usually gets from mitsuwa and her answer was black cod among other things because her bf made her some really delicious black cod dinner once.

and i thought to myself, "this i gotta try for myself". i bought two black cod fillets and asked her bf for the recipe. he told me how i could get the same recipe online and gave me some pointers on how to cook it.

hence, off i went searching for it and stumbled upon the black cod miso recipes that use the same ingredients but are executed differently. some called for the ingredients to be mixed in a bowl and have the fish marinated for a few hours, some called for the marinade to be heated up in the sauce pan, cooled and then have the fish marinated for a few days.

black cod with miso is made famous by nobu matsuhisa, an outstanding japanese chef who has opened NOBU all around the world including here in the US. he has received several nominations for outstanding chef by the james beard foundation and was named as america's ten best new chefs by food & wine in 1989.

this recipe is quite simple to make it yourself at home. the few ingredients needed are white miso paste, sake, mirin and sugar. i decide to heat up the marinade because the miso and sugar can dissolve better in the warm mixture of sake and mirin to create a more consistent marinade for the fish. after patting the fillets dry with paper towels, the fish is coated in the marinade, sealed and then left in the refridgerator.

then the waiting game begins - two days that is.

two days gave me plenty of time to think of a side that would pair well with these ingredients. oven roasted asparagus seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper was the answer for a simple flavor that i think would stand on its own yet does not compete with the delicate flavors of the fish.

typically, it is recommended to sear the fish on a grill pan but since i didn't have one, i used a regular  skillet pan where i drizzled some vegetable oil and cranked up the heat to high.

as i placed the fish into the very hot pan, the oil  started splattering which made quite a mess in the kitchen but it was well worth it. that could only mean one thing - good searing! after searing the black cod for about two minutes on one side, i flipped them over on a baking sheet to finish cooking the fillets in a preheated 400F oven for about ten minutes.

the sweet aroma of miso and mirin wafted throughout my apartment and it made me hungry as i waited for it to be done.

oh boy... it was soo yummy.. i especially love the seared/blackened part because of the crispiness and the concentrated flavors of the marinade that paired so well with the sweetness of the fish. so, don't panic when you see the blackened part as you sear the cod - it's not burnt, it's the caramelizing of the sugar in the marinade.  

it has that savoriness and earthiness of the miso paste which is complemented by the sweetness of the mirin and sake which enhanced the natural sweetness of the fish. the fish flakes off when i cut into it...mmm so yummylicious. it had a punch of flavor from the marinade and yet the richness and silkiness of the fish shone through. sweet, savory, succulent and cripsy all in a single dish.

a definite favorite of mine. i know what i'll be adding to my must buy grocery list my next visit to mitsuwa :)

if you are interested in trying out the recipe, you can get the recipe from here:

nobu's black cod with miso
found on food&

  • 3 tablespoons mirin
  • 3 tablespoons sake
  • half cup white miso paste
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • six 6- to 7-ounce skinless black cod fillets, about 1 1/2 inches thick
  • vegetable oil, for grilling
  • in a small saucepan, bring the mirin and sake to a boil. whisk in the miso until dissolved. add the sugar and cook over moderate heat, whisking, just until dissolved.
  • transfer the marinade to a large baking dish and let cool. add the fish and turn to coat. cover and refrigerate for two days. 
  • preheat the oven to 400°.
  • heat a grill pan and oil it. scrape the marinade off the fish. add the fish and cook over high heat until browned, about two minutes.
  • flip the fish onto a heavy rimmed baking sheet and roast for ten minutes, until flaky.
  • transfer the fish to a dish and it's ready to serve.


ykristen said...

hey that's looks a bit burnt, watch the fire next time

sians said...

it actually isn't burnt. it's supposed to be like that with the sugar caramelizing. in fact those blackened parts tastes really good.