Friday, August 19, 2016

Miso-Glazed Black Cod

I wish black cod (aka sablefish or butterfish) were more widely available. Asian markets sometimes have them (although the quality varies) and I've also bought frozen filets from Trader Joe's (which are seasonal, so not something they stock year-round). Then, lo and behold, I found them available for purchase from not one, but TWO local (i.e., CA) sources online! You have to imagine my gleeful excitement, notwithstanding the fact that the cost for overnight shipping to an address within California was a mere $10.00! Oh joy! So they are Giovanni's Fish Market in Morro Bay and Catalina Offshore Products in San Diego, both of which carry an incredible array of fresh seafood and sushi-grade products, many of which are locally sourced. Granted, the prices aren't exactly cheap so the low shipping cost is a plus, but you're truly getting what you pay for.  If you've never tried black cod, well, you simply must. It's an oily fish, but not in the same sense that sardines or mackerel are. Black cod is super tender and flaky, not fishy tasting at all IMHO, with an incredibly buttery flavor, and (unlike, say, Salmon) very hard to overcook. Naturally, it pairs well with a miso glaze, something that a lot of Japanese and Asian-inspired chefs have perfected. For this preparation, I adapted Nobu Matsuhita's famous version using a bit less sugar, adjusting the quantities of the other ingredients, marinating for 6 hours rather than 2-3 days, and pan frying rather than baking the filets. 

Another great recipe I have for Black Cod is teriyaki-glazed: 

 Beautiful Black Cod from Giovanni's Fish Market in Morro Bay.

Miso Marinade/Glaze:
1/2 cup sake
1/2 cup mirin
6 tbsp. white (Shiro) miso
2 tbsp. sugar

2 lbs. black cod (aka sablefish or butterfish) filets

2 scallions, minced

Steamed white rice

1. Combine the miso marinade ingredients together in a bowl.

2. NOTE: Black cod filets come with some pin bones, but no worries - it's easy to remove them AFTER they have cooked. I tried doing it in the raw stage and, trust me, it doesn't work - you'll just get flustered and mad with panties all atwist for the exercise in futility.

3. Place the filets into a shallow casserole. Pour about 1/2 cup of the miso marinade over the fish, turn the filets over a couple times to coat, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2-6 hours. 

4. Place the remaining 1/2 cup of miso marinade in a small saucepan or skillet; heat over low heat until the sauce has slightly reduced/thickened, about 10 minutes. Keep on a low simmer until the fish is cooked.

5. Add 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Remove the fish filets from the casserole and wipe off most of the marinade with your hands. Add to the hot skillet and saute about 3-4 minutes per side or until browned and just cooked through. At this time, you can easily remove any pin bones from the filets (fish bone tweezers are an inexpensive buy from Amazon) before serving. 

6. Remove the fish filets to individual serving plates and ladle a little of the reduced miso marinade over and around the fish (a little goes a long way). Garnish with minced green onion and serve with steamed white rice.

 Shiro (white) miso paste, mirin, and sake for the miso glaze.

 Filets marinating in 1/2 cup of the miso glaze. 

Reduce the remaining 1/2 cup of miso glaze in a small pan over low heat, about 10 minutes or until it is slightly reduced and thickened. Keep on a low simmer until ready to serve.

 In the meantime, remove the fish from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels.

 Pan-fry the filets 3-4 minutes per side or until browned and just cooked through. Remove any pin bones before serving.

 Serve with rice and some of the reduced miso glaze. Garnish with chopped scallions, if desired.

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