Black cod is the pork belly of the ocean. Pleasantly fatty, super savory and pretty bulletproof to cook. What makes this dish extra delicious is a technique called laminating or sugar brining. We make a miso sauce that’s sweet and savory and submerge the fish in it for a few days. The moisture in the fish gets replaced with the miso sauce. The fancy chemistry term is equilibrium.
Serves 4 to 6.
- 1 cup (240 mL) sake
- 1 cup (240 mL) mirin
- 3 oz (85 g) granulated sugar
- 3 oz (85 g) brown sugar
- 1 lb (450 g) white or yellow miso
- 3 tbsp (75 g) grated ginger
- 2 lb (900 g) black cod fillet, scales removed
- Preheat a 2-quart (1.9-L) saucepan over high heat for about a minute and add the sake. Bring it to a boil to cook off the alcohol. Careful, the sake might ignite. Stir in the mirin, both sugars, miso and grated ginger and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook the marinade for about 5 minutes, until it turns a pale caramel color. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool completely. Separate out 3/4 cup (120 mL) of the marinade to use for basting later.
- Cut the fish into 6-ounce (170-g) pieces, leaving the skin on. Place the fish pieces in a shallow baking dish, pour the marinade over the fish until it is completely submerged. Marinate overnight or up to 2 days.
- Place an oven rack about 12 inches (30 cm) from the broiler. Remove the fish from the marinade and wipe all excess marinade off the fillets. Line a baking sheet with foil, spray the foil with cooking spray and lay the fish on the foil. Broil for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly brown on top and cooked through.
- The fillets will have shrunk a bit and pin bones should be sticking out slightly. Pull out the pin bones and discard them. To finish, drizzle some of the reserved marinade on the fish and broil again until golden brown.
Pro Tip: Due to its richness and soft texture, the common name of black cod in Hawaii is butterfish. The secret to getting the perfect brown color is twice cooking.
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Cover courtesy of Page Street Publishing
Reprinted with permission from 101 Asian Dishes You Need to Cook Before You Die by Jet Tila, Page Street Publishing Co. 2017. Photo credit: Ken Goodman.