Marinate this fish ahead of time, forget about it, then cook it 2 days later. Broil in less than 15 minutes. Could it be any easier than that?
Nobu’s not-so-secret but incomplete recipe
This dish has been oft written about, and its popularity in the US originates from the acclaimed upscale sushi restaurant chain, Nobu. The chef published a cookbook by the same name in 2001.
What no one talks about is that there is a key item missing from the recipe. Specifically, the amount of sake to use in the miso marinade is undisclosed. It curiously just says sake with no corresponding quantity.
Nevertheless, we will improvise with a recipe of our own.
The Foolproof Fish
Black cod is not actually cod at all. It’s “real” name is sablefish and sometimes called butterfish. However, the cod species decided to adopt it as one of its own as the black sheep of the family. Such is the erroneously named black cod.
Black cod or sablefish is just about the easiest and most forgiving fish in the kitchen. It has so much fat that it is nearly impossible to overcook. It will remain moist and silky no matter what you do to it.
The only issue may be finding it. It is a sustainable fish, depending on the fishing method, found off the coast of the Pacific and available year round.
If you can’t find black cod, Nobu recommends using salmon, tuna, or even beef.
Step 1: Make the Miso Marinade & Cool
Bring the sake, mirin, and sugar to boil. Boil for 20 seconds to cook off the alcohol and dissolve the sugar. Remove the pot from the heat, and stir in the red miso paste.
Miso paste comes in many colors including white, yellow, and red. White is the mildest and sweetest, while red is the saltiest and has the most umami.
Miso marinade is typically made with white miso. However, this recipe uses red miso paste, since you generally use just have one color miso in your fridge. If you have white miso, reduce the amount to 1/4 c as written in the recipe card below.
Step 2: Marinate black cod for 2 or 3 days
Here the black cod is cut into smaller fillets about 3-4 inches in length. The fish is strong, so it is meant to be eaten in small portions.
If you don’t want to wait 2 or 3 days, marinate for as long as you have time for. The flavor may just not penetrate through the fish as much.
Step 3: Broil fish
Wipe off excess marinade and put onto a lightly oiled baking pan.
They are placed skin-side down in this recipe, so the flesh gets golden brown. If preferred, you can place skin-side up to get the skin brown.
Broil on high for 7-10 minutes until the cod is just starting to caramelize, and the edges turn black. Depending on how large your fillets are cut, you may need to cook longer than 1o minutes.
Step 4: Remove bones as needed
If the pin bones have not been removed prior to cooking, they are easily removed once cooked, since they will jut out from the surface of the fish.
Step 5: Serve
Serve with plain steamed rice or even roasted or mashed potatoes. They are pictured above with baby lettuce greens and a simple oil and vinegar dressing.
Wine pairing: Cru Beaujolais
A white wine would work as it usually does with fish. However, why not try a red wine?
The marinade on this fish is like a strong shield, and the fat from the fish can stand up to the tannins in a red wine. The Huff Post suggests a cru Beaujolais or Zinfandel with a miso marinated fish in their article: 4 Wine Rules that are Rubbish.
Foolproof Miso Marinated Black Cod
- 1 lb black cod fillets skin on
- 1/4 c sake
- 1/4 c mirin
- 1/4 c sugar
- 1/3 c red miso paste see Note
- Put sake, mirin, and sugar in a pot over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and boil for 20 seconds to cook out the alcohol and dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and whisk in miso paste. Let cool to room temperature.
- Slice black cod fillets into 4 inch long pieces. Cover with cooled miso marinade. Leave for 2-3 days in the fridge.
- Preheat broiler. Wipe off excess marinade from fish and place on a baking sheet sprayed with oil. Broil on low for 7-10 minutes or until the fish just starts to black around the edges. Remove pin bones if not already removed.