Talk to your fishmonger, but usually when you select black cod you’re buying sablefish. Or butterfish, a sablefish nickname due to its flavor and silky-texture. Just don’t go calling “black cod” a cod around fish people, because it’s not. (But Pacific Cod, aka Alaskan cod, is another tasty white-fleshed fish that would also be good in a miso marinade and, along with the sablefish, is a “good alternative” according to the seafood sustainability people. If you’re confused, you’re not alone, and an organization named Oceana is working to make the business of fish naming more transparent, so you can know what you’re buying, which is a good thing for many reasons.)
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a fantastic resource for understanding ocean issues. Get your Seafood Watch Consumer Guide and check your picks when you want to eat fish.
My recipe is adapted from the New York Times’ “Miso-Glazed Fish” and a Miso Glaze recipe from Aqua, back in the days when we ate Chilean sea bass without knowing any better.
Miso Marinade for "Black Cod"
good amount of marinade for 4 - 6 fish servings (about 1 1/2 - 2 pounds)
- 1/4 cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
- 1/4 cup sake
- 3 tbsp white miso paste
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 4 filets (6 oz. each) "black cod"/sablefish
Bring mirin and sake to boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Boil for 20 seconds then remove from heat and mix in miso, sugar and sesame oil. Pour over fish filets in a shallow glass baking dish. Turn fish filets to coat with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 (and up to 6) hours.
Preheat broiler with oven rack 6-inches from heat source. Line a broiler pan with a sheet of foil and oil the foil. Remove fish from marinade and place on foil-lined pan. Broil fish until opaque in center, about 6 minutes.
Recipe Notes / Tips
- What is mirin anyway? You can substitute with rice vinegar and sugar, see this article from Bon Appétit.
- Serve with slivered green onions and freshly cooked rice