This version of chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s famous recipe is the most user-friendly we’ve found. It is taken from the Cliff Lede Vineyards website.
Like many star chefs, Nobu can point back to the one dish that captured foodies’ attention. Many believe that this slightly sweet, slightly earthy preparation is the cornerstone of Nobu Matsuhisa’s ever-growing dining empire. More information on the chef and his restaurants can be found at www.nobumatsuhisa.com
3⁄4 cup mirin (rice wine)
1⁄2 cup sake (such as Junmai Ginjo)
2 cups white miso paste
(available in well-stocked supermarkets and Japanese markets)
1 cup sugar
4 black cod filets, about 1⁄2 pound each
1 stalk hajikami (pickled
ginger shoot, available in Japanese markets; regular sliced pickled ginger may be substituted)
Make Nobu’s miso: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the mirin and sake and boil for 20 seconds to evaporate the alcohol. Add the miso paste and stir with a wooden spoon until it dissolves completely. Add the sugar, raise the heat to high, and stir continuously until it has dissolved completely. Remove the pan from the heat and leave at room temperature until the mixture has cooled completely.
Pat the black cod filets thoroughly dry with paper towels. Put them in a non-reactive dish or bowl and slather them with Nobu’s miso, saving a few spoonfuls of the sauce in a small covered bowl in the refrigerator to use as a garnish. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 3 days. If, like me, you live in the real world, you may not have 3 days, so a solid 4 hours of marinating will deliver most of the flavor.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Preheat a grill or broiler. Lightly wipe off any excess miso clinging to the filets, but don’t rinse it off. Place the fish on the grill or under the broiler and cook just until its surface turns brown. Then transfer to a baking dish and cook in the oven until the fish is just opaque in its center, 10 to 15 minutes more.
To serve, arrange the black cod filets on individual plates and garnish with hajikami. Add a few extra drops of Nobu’s miso around each plate. Serves 4.
Recommended wine: Cliff Lede 1999 rosé