One of our favorite all-time restaurant dishes is Nobu Matsuhisa’s Black Cod with Miso, a simple but delectable appetizer that has been knocked off (and with some success) by chefs and home cooks all over the world. If you visit one of the Nobu restaurants, you should order the dish, it is still excellent. The delicate, sweet and flaky cod with a light crust of funky, salty, umami-rich miso is a perfectly balanced bite.
Matsuhisa’s version of the dish uses black cod and marinates the fish for 2-3 days. And while we know it’s great, it is hard for even food bloggers to plan that far ahead, and we don’t have easy access to black cod. We also needed to beef up the dish a bit to be a main course. But since we have very tasty local rock cod here in Norcal, and we make lots of sushi and/or coconut rice, we adapted a quick version of miso cod (from Food and Wine) for use in rice bowls or hand rolls. And what we get is a very flavorful, easy and healthy meal. The kids even like it (hand rolls are fun).
And making this dish is very easy, the only variable is time. It only takes a few minutes to mix a marinade of white “shiro” miso, mirin (Japanese cooking wine), sake and sugar. Then you marinate the fish. A half hour marinade time does work, but a full day or overnight is even better. The longer the marinate, the deeper and sweeter the miso flavor. Otherwise, simply make some white rice (we like Japanese medium-grain rice), cut up some nori, dice some veggies like carrots, radish and arugula, saute some shiitake mushrooms, slice up an avocado and break out the pickled ginger, soy sauce and Sriracha.
We serve the cod two ways. The first is a simple bowl with the rice topped with miso cod, mushrooms, avocado, veggies and slivers of nori. But the real fun is making the hand-rolls. Just cut the nori sheets into 2×2 inch squares, add in a tablespoon of cooked rice and then layer in the fish and other garnishes. The hand rolls make for a perfect bite. These are great as dinner, but also fun to serve as a snack at parties. But be sure to enjoy a hand roll before you share them, these tend to go fast.
(Adapted from Food and Wine)
Notes Before You Start:
- You can find white or “shiro” miso in the Asian section of most grocery stores or at Asian food markets.
- If you cannot find cod, this recipe works for other white fish and even salmon, just adjust cooking time for the thickness of the fish. If the filets are closer to 1/2 inch, expect 4-5 minutes in the oven. If more than 1 inch thick, expect 8-10 minutes.
What You Get: A fun, tasty and easy fish dish. Great for dinner or as a fun treat at parties.
What You Need: No special equipment required.
How Long? About 15-20 minutes of active time and anywhere from 30 minutes to 12+ hours of marinating time. An “anytime” dish that will benefit from a little planning and advance work.
(Serves 4 – 6)
- 3 tablespoons mirin
- 3 tablespoons sake
- 1/2 cup white miso paste
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 4, 6-ounce skinless cod fillets, look for filets 1 inch thick
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Nori sheets
- Cooked white rice
- Sautéed mushrooms
- Sliced crispy veggies like carrots, radishes or arugula
- Sliced avocado
- Soy sauce
- Place a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the mirin and sake and bring to a boil. Whisk in the miso until it dissolves. Add in the sugar and boil for a few minutes to dissolve. Set aside to cool. When the marinade is cool, coat the fish filets in the marinade and place in a shallow pan. Marinate the fish, in the fridge, for at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place an oven-proof skillet over medium-hight heat. When hot, add the oil. Wipe the marinade from the fish and place the fish in the pan. Cook the fish for two minutes on one side, flip the fish and then place the skillet in the oven. Cook until the fish is slightly flaky, 4-5 minutes for thinner filets, 8-10 minutes for thicker filets. Remove from the oven when done.
- Meanwhile, slice the nori sheets to the desired size and assemble the rice, vegetables and garnishes. Place the cod on a serving plate and flake slightly with a fork. Serve the cod with nori, rice and garnishes.
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