Ever since I bought that bottle of tokubetsu sake, I’ve been finding creative ways to use it. Today I share two sake-containing dishes: a common dish called Gindara Misozuke (miso-marinated black cod), and Sake-Poached Pears Steel-Cut Oatmeal.
The signature of Nobu restaurant that has been replicated all over the world, this piece of silky cod fish oozes a sweet-savouriness, thanks to a 36-hour miso marinade. I prepared the fish on Sunday, and after a pain-staking wait, finally it was time to cook it last night. I used snow cod instead of the usual black cod (sablefish), but I doubt it would make much of a difference. Heck, it would probably work with any mild-tasting white fish, but the fattiness of cod adds a touch of velvety luxury.
Broiled in the oven for exactly 15 minutes, the sugars caramelized to form a paper-thin crispy glaze. Beneath it belied the most tender piece of snow-white flesh, its myotomes held together precariously by collagen-rich myocommata. It fell apart at the slightest touch. Gingerly, I tasted a piece; it was mind-boggling amazing! It was a complex cacaphony of flavours – umami, sweet, savoury and resembled somewhat like a teriyaki glaze, but had the touch of elegance and sophisicated, a certain je nai se quois that I can’t put my finger on. It must be the sake.
Best yet, the marinade it so simple to put together (miso, sake, mirin and sugar) and you don’t have to bother about it except to wait patiently for three days for the marinade to penetrate the fish. I held back on the miso paste, concerned that it would be too salty, but my advice is do not. I would definitely up the miso content next time.
- 2 tablespoons sake
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 1½ tablespoons miso (shiro miso recommended; also I recommended using more miso)
- ¾ tablespoon sugar
- 1 piece (150g) cod fillet
- In a small saucepan, bring sake and mirin to boil. Boil for about 20 seconds to evaporate the alcohol.
- Add the miso paste and stir with a wooden spoon until it dissolves completely.
- Add the sugar, raise the heat to high, and stir continuously until it has dissolved completely. Leave to cool until it marinade reaches room temperature.
- Pat the fillet thoroughly dry with paper towels. Slather the fish with the miso marinade and place in a nonreactive dish or bowl (I used a ziploc bag). Leave to steep in the refrigerator for 3 days.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Lightly wipe off any excess marinade clinging to the fillets but don’t rinse it off. Place the fish in oven and broil until the surface of the fish turns brown, about 12-15 minutes.
Sake-Poached Pears on Steel-Cut Oatmeal
This was a happy accident. I had initially planned on apple steel cut oatmeal but my sister had apparently ate up the last apple. Thankfully I had back-up plans (by this you can probably tell how much I daydream about breakfast). Here, instead of the usual wine, pears are poached in sake and honey and spiked with vanilla, cinnamon and star anise. I used Taylor’s Gold pear from New Zealand, which is similar to Bosc or Comice. Just make sure you use a firm pear (not overripe) so that it doesn’t disintegrate upon poaching! Since I knew the pears would be plenty sweet, I used plain oatmeal as a base. The pears, infused with the warm spices and a hint of booziness from the sake, were dribble-juicy good!
- ¾ cup water
- ¼ cup sake
- ½ tablespoon honey (or maple syrup)
- Splash of vanilla extract
- Dash of ground cinnamon
- ½ a semi-ripe pear (eg Bosc), sliced thickly
- Bring water, sake, honey, vanilla extract and spices to boil.
- Add pear slices to saucepan and spread out in a single layer.
- Cover and simmer for 20-25 minute.
- Serve atop plain oatmeal.