The most-imitated and most-famous signature dish of celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa deserves its fame because it’s just plain delicious.Here’s a link to his original recipe for those purists.Food & Wine recently published a simplified version, which I simplified (and improved, imho) further.
Black cod is also known as sablefish and butterfish and is often available from Cook’s Seafood in Menlo Park. It’s a locally caught fish, happily. However, this recipe would be just fine with halibut or some other moist white fish. The marinade and subsequent quick cooking render the fish sweet, juicy and completely satisfying.The few Japanese ingredients in this dish are available locally at Nijiya Market in Mountain View and other Asian markets. Some supermarkets have some of the ingredients, like miso paste (at Whole Foods) and maybe even the mirin and sake.
3 tablespoons mirin
3 tablespoons sake
1/2 cup white miso paste
1/4 cup sugar (or less)
Six 6- to 7-ounce skinless black cod fillets, about 1 1/2 inches thick
Pickled ginger, for serving
- 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. If in a hurry, cool off in an ice bath or put the marinade to cool in the fridge. When cool, slather over both sides of the fish. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 400°. The cod will be cooked via a simple pan roasting. Add a small amount of high-heat oil (grapeseed is good) and heat an oven-proof sauté pan. Wipe the marinade off the fish (need not be careful with this step; leaving a little on is ok). Add the fish and cook over high heat until browned, about 2 minutes. Flip the fish over, move to the oven and roast for 10 minutes or less, until flaky. Transfer to plates and serve with pickled ginger.It’s also good with rice on the side.
- The leftover marinade can be frozen and reused.
MAKE AHEAD The marinade can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
WINE Spicy, aromatic or full-bodied white wine like an Alsatian gewürztraminer.