I haven’t cooked very much lately because it’s been so hot, but I finally bought an air conditioner and am luxuriating in the splendor of a controlled climate. Fire up the stove!
This afternoon, Mark and I were at Sunrise Mart, a Japanese market in the East Village and I noticed some black cod fillets. I decided to give myself a little challenge.
Back in 2004, the model Carolyn Murphy and a vineyard owner named Randall Graham both told the New York Times (in separate sections in the same Sunday issue) that their last meal would be the black cod with miso at Nobu.
It was Nobu’s signature dish. Unfortunately, the restaurant, a great empire like Rome or Portugal before it, was filled with hubris and ambitions to colonize beyond its reach and is now on the decline and some might even say dead.
Staring at that raw black cod fillet in the market, I thought back to Nobu’s heyday when I first had the dish and I imagined myself a sort of culinary Russell Crowe in Gladiator trying to bring back the glory of Rome from the evil snatches of weirdo usurper Joaquin Phoenix.
So here it is. My own version of black cod with miso. Are you not entertained?!
Joyce Wu’s Black Cod with Miso
(Serves one cocky amateur cook)
1 black cod fillet
1 cup seafood stock
1 tbsp cream sherry
1/8 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp organic cane sugar
2 packets of miso paste (I accidentally got the kind with seaweed in it)
1/4 Asian pear, thinly sliced
Combine stock, sherry, soy sauce, sugar and miso paste in a small sauce pan and simmer until miso paste is dissolved, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
Place the fillet on a steam-proof plate and place inside steamer. Place the steamer atop a large pot of boiling water and steam for approximately 6 minutes.
Remove the fillet from the plate. (I know the impulse is to save anything juicy, but make sure you discard the liquid on the plate because it’s very fishy and unpleasant-tasting.) Arrange the pear slices by the fish and spoon the sauce over everything. Garnish with cilantro.
I also bought some Japanese eggplant to make as a side dish and I would’ve steamed them at the same time as the fish, but alas, I have a bizarre contraption of an oven that hangs above my stove, so I can only steam one thing at time, rendering my stacking bamboo steamer pretty useless. Oh, well.
My eggplant dish wasn’t the best complement to the fish, but it was fairly tasty, so I’ll share the recipe and for those of you lucky enough to have a kitchen that wasn’t constructed of refuse appliances from the 70’s, feel free to do them at the same time.
Spicy Steamed Eggplant
(serves 2 as a side dish)
2 small Japanese eggplants
1 tbsp harissa
1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 scallion, thinly sliced
salt to taste
Slice off the tops of the eggplant, then slice them in half, lengthwise. Cut each of the long pieces into smaller slices (about an inch long). Place the eggplant slices inside the steamer and place the steamer on top of a large pot of boiling water (or on top of the fish if you’re stacking). Steam for about 8 or 9 minutes for tender eggplant.
Place the eggplant in a bowl and cover with harissa and mix. Gently fold in mint and cilantro. Sprinkle a couple pinches of salt and scallion slices on top.