Friday, April 22, 2011

Miso Cod for Ray

My girlfriend’s father, Ray, was in town last week for a concert, and he stayed in the city an extra night to see me and our friends for a dinner. As usual, I offered up my cooking services for the evening. Ray doesn’t eat any meat or shellfish, so I wanted to make an interesting and delicious fish dish that was outside of the usual types of seafood dishes I put together. I’m a huge fan of Asian food. I love the mix of salty, spicy, and sweet flavors that are often featured in Asian dishes and create that great sense of umami (or savoriness). I decided to do a play on miso soup. I made a dashi broth (fish stock) and marinated cod in a miso glaze along with sauteed bok choi greens and shitake mushrooms. When all three components were eaten in one bite, you got the sensation of eating miso soup with the strong saltiness of the dashi mixing with the sweetness of the miso glaze on the fish (which took the place of the tofu) and the warmth of the greens and mushrooms. I also made some vegetable fried rice on the side to add some heartiness of the meal. The rice actually worked well with the dashi and fish, so a few people at the table actually mixed the rice in with everything else. Everyone was so excited to eat that I forgot to take a picture of the complete dish, but fortunately I had one extra portion (which I ate once I got my pic…) The meal ended up being a great setting for Ray’s endlessly entertaining stories, and we all had a great time.
Miso Cod in a Dashi Broth with Bok Choi and Shitake

1/3-1/2 lb of Cod per person
1 head of bok choi
5-6 shitake mushrooms
sesame seeds
3/4 cup white miso
3/4 cup sake
3/4 cup mirin
1/2 cup sugar
2 pieces dried kelp
1/2 cup bonito flakes
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 cups water

To Cook!

Bring water to a boil and add kelp. Reduce to a simmer and add bonito flakes, let simmer for 20-30 minuted until broth is very fragrant, taste to make sure it is strong enough for your liking. Strain the broth over cheesecloth or paper towel, add the soy sauce and stir. Add more soy if the broth isn’t salty enough.

Bok choi and shitake mushrooms:
Slice the mushrooms and the greens of the bok choi into very thin strips (reserve the bok choi stalks for another use, perhaps a stir fry or fried rice). Heat oil in a wok or frying pan on medium high and add the mushrooms when hot. When the mushrooms start to brown, add the greens and sautee until wilted. Add the sesame seeds, a little of the extra miso glaze and toss until coated. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Miso Glazed Cod:
Bring sake and mirin to a boil and boil for 1 minute to burn off alcohol. Reduce to a simmer and add miso and stir until fully incorporated and smooth. Add sugar and stir until fully dissolved, set aside and let cool. Once cooled, pour the glaze over the fish and marinate overnight in a plastic bag. When ready to cook, remove the fish and wipe away the glaze with a paper towel (don’t wash off). Broil the fish until golden on top and finish in the oven until flaky.

To serve use wide bowls, place the fish in the bowl, pour enough dashi to cover the bottom of the bowl over the fish and place the mushrooms and greens on top. Serve with fried rice or udon noodles to add heartiness.

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