While black cod is not a label usually seen in the fishmongers or supermarket the fish goes by a few other names that are easier to find (when it’s called black cod they can charge more for it), look for sablefish or butterfish. All three names are the exact same fish.
The ingredients used in the recipe below are not the usually common pantry staples but I used them all with regularity. The mirin and sake often get added to stir fries (with some freshly grated ginger, soy sauce and sometimes a splash of sesame oil) and the miso is perfect for a quick soup or stock base (I make a quick miso soup by dissolving a tablespoon of miso in a cup of hot water and serving it with diced tofu and sliced scallions). Also all three ingredients keep almost forever so you can store them until you make this main course again because I know you will want to!
I served mine with a salad of mixed baby lettuces and avocado with Japanese-style Salad Dressing.
Notes: the sweet miso marinade can also be made ahead and stored in a refrigerator in an airtight container.
3/8 cup saké (75ml)
3/8 cup mirin (75ml)
1 cup white miso paste (225g)
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar (113g)
2 200g very fresh black cod fillets
1. Pour saké and mirin into a small saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Boil for 20-30 seconds to boil off some of the alcohol. Turn the heat down to low and add the miso paste, stir carefully with a spoon to help the miso dissolve. Once the miso has dissolved, turn up the heat to high and add the sugar, stir constantly to help the sugar dissolve and to prevent burning. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature (See Notes).
2. Once the marinade is at room temperature, pat the black cod fillets dry with paper towels. Place the fillets in a glass container and using your hands cover completely with the miso mixture. Store the fillets in a non-metal container and pour over the rest of the miso. Cover well and store in the fridge to marinate for 2-3 days.
3. Heat oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with foil. Heat a griddle or grill over medium high heat. Remove fillets from marinade by wiping not rinsing, so that there is still a very fine coating, and place the fish on the grill.
4. Grill for 2-3 minutes and carefully rotate the fish 90º and grill for another 2-3 minutes. Carefully flip with fillet over and repeat on the other side.
5. Place the fish on the prepared baking sheet and pop in the oven until the fish is cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Make sure to remove any bones down the center of the fillet and serve immediately.
Fun fact: Apparently this is one of Robert DeNiro’s favorite dishes , so if any boys object to eating miso marinated fish just tell them convince them with the fact that the Godfather eats it!