Black cod is not cod but an entirely different fish. Nobu’s miso black cod technique applied to haddock works a treat.
Miso haddock like miso cod
My miso haddock recipe is borrowed from the famous Nobu miso black cod, and inspired by the Nobu-style cod I recently had in the Hurley House Hotel restaurant.
Why do I point out the difference between the two dishes? Because it’s a mighty confusing recipe.
The Weather Man detests cod in all guises so I was never rushing to try out the famous black one, until I found it was actually a completely different fish: black cod is not cod at all.
Also called Sablefish or Butterfish, it dwells the colder waters of Pacific near Alaska and British Columbia. It’s madly appreciated in Japan where they know their fish and its value, and virtually unavailable in Europe or at least as beknown to me.
Japanese cod-style marinade
What do I do though if I can’t get what I want? I try it first with what I can get.
The secret of the black cod excellence lies also in the long miso marinating and in very gentle searing and roasting. I prepared the marinade and got a particularly lovely loin of fresh haddock. It sat in the fridge for 48 hours and emerged, a little discoloured but with the texture seemingly intact.
What's in the marinade? Miso, obviously, dissolved in and cooked off with mirin wine, sake and some brown sugar. It needs to work its magic coating the fish in the subtle sugars, fermenting the flesh very slightly. The marinated haddock - or black cod if you're lucky or Japanese - sits in the fridge for up to two days.
What's the texture of miso haddock?
The fish tastes gorgeous but it's the texture that is sublime: firm but succulent to the point of being slimy in a nice way. The salty-sweet flavouring is ultra-fine, just colouring the taste as the marinade colours the flesh visibly.
It is a gorgeous way of preparing white flaky fish. The marinade turns a lovely hue when the fish is seared in a hot pan and the cooking takes no more than ten minutes. It is a marvellous dish to impress, and it needs only very simple accompaniments.
Can it be cooked simpler?
It can be only pan-fried or only roasted, of course. To a certain degree the fish 'cooks' initially while marinating so it needs not much time in the heat. But I like the light searing combined with the oven cooking the fish through: pan frying on its own would be a little too violent while just roasting will leave the outside of the fish unappetisingly pale.
I’ll certainly want to try the authentic black cod fish if I can ever procure it. Until then, haddock or cod will more than suffice.