Sarah, from Old Mill Wine & Spirits, sent me a recipe for Miso Glazed Sea Bass. I had been dying to try it but I ended up taking some liberties and made a new version. This happened mostly because I could not find any fresh Sea Bass at any store near my home. I gave up after three stores. I then changed some of the measurements too to suit the Cod, which was the readily available fish of the day.
I have to admit, I have never cooked with Miso before. I really had no idea what it even looked like or how it was packaged. I actually did not research it before I went shopping or I would have had a better idea as to what exactly I was looking for. To be honest, I have never actually made any Japanese cuisine at home. Although, I have eaten plenty of take out and in lots of Japanese restaurants around the world. I love sushi. It just never really occurred to me to make any on my own. It was delicious and I will have to make a more since I have so much Miso left over. I need to investigate additional recipes that call for Miso too. Feel free to share if you have a favorite!
I went to my local grocer. Not only did they not have any Sea Bass, they did not carry Miso. Except in packages of instant soup. Strike out.
I went to two more stores before settling on a huge Asian grocer on Long Island, V&T Supermarket. It was my first time there and I spent hours wandering up and down the aisles. What an incredible store. And a world away, right near my home. They have literally hundreds of sauces, and every different kind of noodle you can imagine, from rice noodles, wheat noodles, egg noodles and even noodles made from shrimp. They have extremely interesting finds like dried cuttlefish and other dried fish made to taste like fruit candy. They had beautiful, albeit strange looking, fruits and vegetables. These were all very exotic to me and my, apparently, very Western cooking habits. I dared to experiment!
More importantly, they had Miso. After wandering for a few hours not seeing it, I passed another customer who had been wandering in the opposite direction as I was through the same aisles. I asked if in their wanderings did they happened upon Miso. They very nicely explained that it would be in the refrigerator section in a tub, much like margarine and pointed me to it. I am very grateful he told me this as I never would have found it on my own. And no one who worked there spoke much English. Or at least they didn’t when I asked.
They had many Miso varieties. I chose the Awase Miso. Which means “Mixed Miso”. It is a blend of two different misos from two different areas of Japan. Each Miso varies by region and each has a distinct flavor and texture and aroma. Yellow miso is sweet and creamy, while red miso is stronger and saltier. The Awase is a perfect combination of salt and not overly pungent.
They also had fresh fish. And they also carried live fish that you could choose from, but the tanks did not look all that cared for and were very overcrowded so I opted for the laid out fish. But yet again, no Sea Bass. So I settled on Cod instead. This recipe would be good for any thick fish fillet. I also served it with steamed sugar snap peas and udon noodles.
1/2 cup sake
1/2 cup mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)
1/2 cup yellow miso paste
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tbsp soy sauce
4 6-oz Cod fillets
2 tbsp green onions, finely sliced
Mix the first 5 ingredients together in a shallow glass baking dish.
Lay fish in the marinade and turn gently to coat.
Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 6 hours.
Preheat broiler. Remove fish from marinade. Place fish on rimmed baking sheet.
With broiler door slightly ajar, broil the fish about 6 inches from heat source until just opaque in center, about 7 minutes.
Transfer to plates. Sprinkle with green onions and serve.
Enjoy! Or in Japenese どうぞめしあがれ (douzo meshiagare) which means ‘enjoy your meal’ – said by the cook/chef. Per Omniglot.
Note: Look for Miso in Asian grocery stores or the refrigerator section of your local health food store. It may also be found in the same case where you find packaged Tofu in some larger supermarkets. I have yet to find it in my Stop & Shop though.