When Nobu first opened up in Melbourne (this was quite a few years ago), we wasted no time to check it out as I kept hearing people waxing lyrical over the Miso Black Cod. It’s Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s signature dish and also said to be Robert De Niro’s (he’s one of the owners of Nobu) favourite. For me it was love at first sight. The fish was presented simply with a ginger stem.
Errr…. I have actually gotten better in taking pictures it seems. Or should I just blame the lighting? I think I will. No amount of contrast adjusting will save this photo…
Well back to the fish. I couldn’t believe how soft it was. It literally melted in my mouth. I just love the subtle miso flavour that’s both umami and distinctly sweet. I got the Nobu’s Cookbook recently at the Big Bad Wolf’s book sales and lo and behold, this recipe was used as the cover! It’s actually pretty simple. White miso (Shiro Miso), a sweet miso was used in this recipe along with mirin, sake, and a little sugar. The trick is to use super fresh fish and marinate it for 2 days and there you have it, a 5-star dish right out of your kitchen.
I found an unfinished pack of Cha Soba and thought it will go well with the fish. As for the vegetables, I’ve used some choy sum, simply blanched. I used regular cod though, which is not as superior as the texture of black cod (butterfish/sablefish) but it’s still quite soft and buttery.
Miso Cod with Cha Soba and Choy Sum
1 Cod fillet. You can also use Halibut or Salmon. Around 125g.
70g Caster Sugar
150g White Miso Paste (Shiro Miso)
Blanched Choy Sum
Cha Soba dipping sauce
Either the bottled variety or a mixture of equal part soy, dashi stock, water.
About 2 days ahead, make the Saikyo miso: in a heavy based saucepan, bring the sake and mirin to boil, and continue to boil for 2-3 minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate.
Using a wooden spoon, stir in the sugar until it has dissolved, then slowly mix in the miso paste, a little at a time. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly so as not to let the mixture burn, for 8-10 minutes.
Strain the mixture through a sieve to remove any lumps, allow to cool and then chill until quite cold.
Place the fish in a container, and pour a good splash of the Saikyo miso over the fillet. Leave to marinate for 1-2 days in the refrigerator.
When you want to cook the fish, preheat the grill or the oven to 200 C. Place the fillet in the grill pan or on a non-stick baking sheet and cook under the grill or preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, until golden on the outside. (I have actually seared the fish on a pan before sending it into the oven, so I took the fish out 2 minutes earlier).
Meanwhile, cook the Cha Soba until al dente and rinse with water. Bring the temperature right down in an ice bath. Alternatively you can also serve it warm.
Place on the serving dish and dress the plate with a little extra Saikyo miso and garnish with the noodles and vegetables. Pour the Soba dipping sauce over the noodles (just 2 tablespoons will do)
You’ll find that if you marinate for 2 days, the miso flavours have fully permeated through the whole fillet, the tell-tale sign is the lovely even golden brown hue. When you cook the fish perfectly, the flesh will remain tender and juicy. There’s no need for elaborate side dishes because you want to enjoy the clean flavours. Nobu suggested using blanched baby zucchini (impossible to find here) or vine ripened cherry tomatoes (again uncommon), but you can use any ‘clean tasting’ vegetables. I heard music in my head when I devoured this. Like classical with harp, although some classic rock n roll might work too. It’s a winner!
No, the cats didn’t get a share. It was too good.
There will be plenty of leftover Saikyo Miso. You can store it in the fridge for 1 week. I used it to make Nasu Dengaku (Miso Glazed Eggplant), my favourite way of eating eggplants. The sweet and savoury flavours works superbly well with the silky smooth eggplant.
1 Medium Eggplant sliced in half, make criss-cross cut on the flesh, this makes it cook faster and absorb the flavours better
3-4 tablespoons of Saikyo Miso
Preheat the oven to 180 degree. Drizzle a little olive oil over the eggplant and bake for 30 minutes or until soft, turning once.
Smear the Saikyo Miso on the flesh side. You want to cover the surfaces completely. The return to oven, change the setting to broil (top heat only) and cook until the miso paste starts to bubbles and darken. Sprinkle some chopped spring onions on top if you like and serve hot! Perfect with rice.
So, do you think I can have a go inviting Robert De Niro over for lunch? We could have a sit-down *cues Godfather’s theme song*. At least I know how to cook his favourite dish!