Miso Marinated Black Cod

This is not my recipe, but a much-published one by Nobu Matsuhisa that I thought I’d try. Black cod with miso is one of my favourite things to order at Japanese restaurants – the buttery sweetness of the fish never fails to surprise me, and I’d always figured that it must be quite a process to transform the cod in such a way. So, when I came to look up the recipe and found that it uses only five ingredients and involves virtually no work, I was more than a little intrigued…

You do need to start two days in advance though, in order to marinate the fish. This is a kind of counter-intuitive move, freshness normally being key with seafood – but start with fillets as fresh as you can find, and two days in the fridge won’t present any problem.

In the meantime, the miso marinade will work its magic on the fish, and all you need to do is pop it briefly under the grill, and finish in the oven. Given this blog is all about original recipes, I wouldn’t normally re-post – but this is worth it!



(Serves 4)

  • 4 fillets of black cod (skin-on) – approx. 150-200g each
  • ¼ cup of sake
  • ¼ cup of mirin
  • 4 tablespoons white (shiso) miso paste
  • 3 tablespoons caster sugar

Make the miso marinade 48 hours in advance by bringing the sake and mirin to boil in saucepan over high heat. Bring to boil and continue to boil for 30 seconds in order to evaporate the alcohol contained in the sake.

Next, lower the heat and add the miso paste, whisking to dissolve. Once dissolved completely, turn the heat back up, and add the sugar. Continue to whisk, in order to dissolve the sugar, and, once dissolved remove immediately from the heat.

Set the mixture aside to cool at room temperature.

Once the marinade has cooled, remove the cod fillets from the fridge and pat dry thoroughly using paper towels. Place the fillets in small individual zip-lock plasticbags, and distribute the marinade evenly between the bags. Seal each bag, removing as much air as possible before doing so, and gently massage the marinade into the fish, ensuring an even coat, through the plastic.

Now refrigerate for 48 hours until ready to cook.

Pre-heat an in-oven grill to a high setting. Remove the cod fillets from their bags and gently wipe off excess marinade using your hands. The aim is not to remove all the marinade, but just that which is genuinely excess and might otherwise burn under the grill. Arrange the fillets, skin-down on a baking tray and then place under the hot grill.

Grill for four to five minutes, or until the top of the fish is looking quite dark – brown all over, and even a little black in places.*

Remove from the grill to finish in the oven at 190°C for a further five minutes.

The flaky texture of this dish is one of the best things about it, so test done-ness by pressing gently with the back of a fork. If the ‘leaves’ of the fillet begin to separate silkily, this means it’s done!

Serve with pickled ginger. This dish is so delicious, it really doesn’t need much else.

* I have modified cooking times and temperatures from the original recipe to reflect what I found using my particular grill and oven. The best advice I can give in this regard is to use the cooking times as only indicative, and let colour and texture direct you instead. Err on the side of under-cooking in preference to over though, as a moist texture makes this dish, and while you can always pop something back in the oven for a minute more, unfortunately there is no such easy fix for over-cooking.