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.