Sake It To Me Miso Black Cod

Yesterday was May 5th. Cinco de Mayo.

I survived. Barely. Is it wistful to think that writing will cure my massive hangover? If it worked for Hemingway, it will work for Happelsauce.

Last night commenced with a homemade margarita. I make a good marg, if I do say so myself. I like them strong. Like coffee. And minds. And men.

The night ended with…sake.

It seemed like a good idea to balance our guacamole intake with izakaya at Ichi. Because nothing says fiesta like Japanese  nibbles?!  Somewhere between the margarita and the last drop of sake, we ate miso black cod. And it was melt-in-your-mouth excellence. I almost always order it when it’s on a menu, in part because up until a few weeks ago, I had assumed that it was difficult to make. I didn’t think I could make cod as delicate and delicious.

Miso. Mirin. Sake.

Turns out that miso black cod is not only easy to make at home, but it might taste even better than the dish at Nobu or Ichi or your favorite Japanese spot because YOU cooked it. Accomplishment tastes good.


The other week, I offered to make dinner for Nattie and D at their new house. So I brought the raw, marinated fish over and cooked it in their kitchen. Cold miso black cod was not an option. I’d prepped all the ingredients for the meal at my apartment, so I felt like I was on a cooking show when I unpacked my bag – chopped green onions, cucumber salad, warm brown sushi rice – all at the ready. And in a matter of minutes, with ninja-style quickness, dinner was on the table.

Nobu at home

The cod should marinate overnight, so it takes a bit of foresight, but once it’s ready to cook, it’s quick. And so worth it. 

Miso Black Cod

From Nobu Matsuhisa

Serves 6

3 tablespoons mirin
3 tablespoons sake
1/2 cup white miso paste
1/3 cup sugar
Six 6- to 7-ounce skinless black cod fillets, about 1 1/2 inches thick
Vegetable oil, for grilling
Pickled ginger, for serving

In a small saucepan, bring the mirin and sake to a boil. Whisk in the miso until dissolved.

Add the sugar and cook over moderate heat, whisking, just until dissolved. Transfer the marinade to a large baking dish and let cool. Add the fish and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400°. Heat a grill pan and oil it.

Scrape the marinade off the fish. Add the fish and cook over high heat until browned, about 2 minutes. Flip the fish onto a heavy rimmed baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes, until flaky. Transfer to plates and serve with pickled ginger and rice.

The marinade can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.


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