Pretty Dishes

Roasted Black Cod
June 12, 2011, 11:57 am
Filed under: Recipes

I’m probably not terribly unique in that I know how good fish is for me and yet I don’t eat nearly enough of it. Which is to say I usually fail to consider seafood when contemplating what to make for dinner. It somehow doesn’t register as a versatile protein with which I can get creative, which is silly considering how many excellent seafood options there are to be had. I think what it comes down to is my own limitations in thinking up what to do with it.

I can say without a doubt that the two sea dwellers I’ve made at home most frequently over the years would be shrimp and salmon. While either can be prepared numerous ways, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut and to lose interest after too much of the same. And yet I’ve steamed clams and mussels, basted crab legs, and seared scallops. I’ve grilled trout, broiled tuna, and fried halibut. I’m not inexperienced with seafood at home, I just haven’t felt comfortable enough with it to incorporate it fully into weekly meals, especially when the quality tends to be so spotty at my local grocery store.

Enter Good Fish. While working on this excellent cookbook, I found myself wanting to try all of the recipes. Every one of them sounded amazing, and I even had the pleasure of tasting a few of the dishes when attending the photo shoot. (This former scallop-hater started singing a different tune after reluctantly accepting a bite of the Scallop Crudo.)

Now I frequently refer to the cookbook for ideas, and more than that, I refer to it for reassurance. There’s no need to doubt my ability to pick out the best piece of fish (the information is right at my fingertips), and the author encourages readers to get outside their comfort zones and give something new a try. She has even created a delightful series of videos showcasing seafood preparation techniques for those of us who prefer visual demonstrations.

And so it was with confidence and excitement that I made my first trip several weeks ago to Mutual Fish to purchase a fillet of black cod—a fish I had yet to try. If it’s supposedly so rich that it could be substituted by a stick of butter, then it has to be pretty incredible, right?

I was not disappointed. The flesh was soft, moist, fatty, and smooth. It was definitely buttery, and yet the flavor was so subtle (not at all fishy) that the meat really acted as more of a base for the other ingredients. If you haven’t tried it yourself, I highly recommend doing so immediately. I fully intend to make every black cod dish in the book, and I won’t stop there!

Roasted Black Cod with Bok Choy and Soy Caramel Sauce

Makes 4 servings

5 ounces red cabbage, thinly sliced (about 2 cups) [I had to use green cabbage, which wasn’t as fun or beautiful.]
2 large bulbs bok choy, halved
2 small tomatoes, halved
4 green onions, white and green parts cut into 3-inch lengths
4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
4 teaspoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
4 slices lime
1 serrano chile, sliced (optional)
1 pound black cod fillet or steaks, cut into 4 equal portions
Soy Caramel Sauce (recipe follows)
4 cups cooked rice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.

You’re going to make 4 separate piles on the foil. Each pile will get 1/2 cup cabbage, a bok choy half, a tomato half sprinkled with a little salt, and a quarter of the green onions. Drizzle each pile with 1 teaspoon sesame oil and 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar. Top with a lime slice and sprinkle with some chile pieces. Roast the vegetables in the oven for 20 minutes, or until they are soft and lightly browned around the edges. Keep the oven on.

Remove the pan from the oven, place one piece of black cod, skin side down, on each pile, and drizzle 1 tablespoon soy caramel sauce on each piece of fish. Roast for another 8 to 10 minutes or until a press of the finger reveals a sliding away, ever so gently, of the fish into the beginning of individual flakes. Serve with the rice and remaining soy caramel sauce.

Soy Caramel Sauce

This sauce is lip-smacking good and pairs well with many different fish and seafood, especially crab. Don’t be surprised if you end up wishing you had made a double batch. . . .

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup sake
3 tablespoons mirin
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons

In a small saucepan, add the soy sauce, sake, mirin, sugar, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat and reduce to a simmer. Cook the sauce until it is reduced by half, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the heat down to its lowest setting and whisk in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, adding each only after the previous one has melted. Taste and add more lemon juice if desired.


1 Comment so far
Leave a comment

yum, that sounds delish!

Comment by Casey

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