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Nobu's Black Cod with Miso

I remember, years ago, when this dish was all the rage.  People would flock to
Nobu in droves just for this meal.  We were not those people.  First, we didn't even know each other at the time, so that portion of our lives doesn't count (or, at least that's what I tell him).  Second, we were both either in college or fresh out of college, with neither the inclination nor the funds for Nobu dining.  
Luckily for us, many restaurants, both Japanese and non, have now adopted some variation of the renowned black cod recipe for their menus.  Belatedly, for the first time, we tried a version of this renowned dish at Matsuri, in Chelsea.  They call their version Sake Black Cod and it was delicious.  Subtle, buttery and slightly sweet.  We loved it.

When we saw black cod being sold at our fish market (Yes, we know, black cod is just another and more exotic-sounding name for sablefish), we knew we had to replicate the dish we'd tasted, to the best of our abilities.  Using this Nobu recipe, we made a dish that was just as good, if not better, than the original dish we tasted.

The amount of work that goes into the recipe is negligible.  A little simmering and a lot of marinating = fish so good you'd serve it to guests you're looking to impress.  Really, it was so good that we were fighting each other for the last pieces.  Hmmm...actually, if you tend to spar over good food, like we do, then you might want to rethink serving this meal in front of dinner guests.     

Nobu's Black Cod with Miso
serves 4
  • 3/4 cup mirin (rice wine)
  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 2 cups white miso paste
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 black cod fillets, 1/2 pound each
  • 1 stalk hajikami (we didn't use this)
1. In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, combine the mirin and sake and boil for 20 seconds to evaporate the alcohol. 

2. Add the miso paste and stir with a wooden spoon until it dissolves completely.

3. Add the sugar, raise the heat to high, stir until it dissolves completely.  Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool completely.  Reserve a couple of tablespoons of this mixture and place in the refrigerator. 

4. Pat the black cod fillets dry, thoroughly, with paper towels.  Place in non-reactive bowl or dish and slather with the miso mixture.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and marinate in refrigerator for 2-3 days. 

5. Lightly wipe excess miso off the fish, but don't rinse it off.  Place on grill or under broiler until the surface just turns brown.  Place into baking dish and place in 400 degrees F oven for 10-15 minutes, until the fish is just opaque in the center.

6. Place on plates, garnish with hajikami (if you use this) and put drops of reserved and refrigerated miso paste around the fish on the plate.


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