Miso Glazed Black Cod is a wonderful seafood dish with a delicate buttery flavor that you can easily make at home. It’s a light yet elegant filling meal that will impress your family or guests.
I found this recipe from the seafood company that I purchased the black cod from. After doing a little bit of research, I quickly learned that the original recipe came from Nobu, the acclaimed fine Japanese restaurant chain, and that there are many variations on this simple but impressive recipe.
Since it was so good, I decided to share it with you. It starts with an easy to make marinade, which is more of a thin paste. Slather the marinade on the cod, let it sit, then give it a quick pan sear and into the oven to finish.
The original recipe has you marinate the fish in the fridge in the miso paste for up to 3 or 4 days. I went with a quick marinade of a few hours, and a reduction of the leftover marinade to make a sauce. I’ve always believed the adage, “fish and company stink after 3 days.”
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What is Black Cod?
Black cod is a common name for sablefish, sometimes known as butterfish. It’s a white fish with a tender silky texture with a rich clean flavor. Even though this fish is called “black cod,” it’s not a true cod.
I have found black cod through quality seafood mongers. You may also find it at well stocked Asian or international markets. I tend to doubt that you’ll find it at the regular grocery store; unless of course your grocery store is super cool!
If you can’t find black cod, feel free to swap the fish in the recipe for another kind. Try salmon, cod, or halibut.
Is black cod healthy?
Yes, black cod is healthy, not only for you, but for the environment.
It has one of the highest levels of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, making it rich and healthy to eat. The high oil content of this fish also makes it difficult to overcook, which means it’s a great fish for beginner cooks as well as experienced cooks.
It’s sustainably fished, and because it’s a deep-water fish that’s caught on longlines, it has earned them a Green “Best Choice” Rating by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch.
How to defrost frozen fish
Pop the frozen fish in the refrigerator while it’s still in the plastic bag, the night before you want to cook it.
If you didn’t think to defrost it the night before, you can thaw it under cold water in an hour or less. Here’s how:
- Keep the fish in the sealed plastic bag. Thawing unwrapped fish in water makes it waterlogged.
- Use only cold tap water, or water that’s a bit cooler than room temperature, to thaw as this minimizes the risk of bacterial growth.
- Place the wrapped frozen fish in a large clean sink or a big bowl and cover with the cool tap water. Place a small heavy plate on top of the fish to keep it submerged so that all parts defrost at the same rate.
- Change out the water every 20 or 30 minutes until the fish is fully thawed, just to make sure the water stays cool.
- Use the thawed fish immediately to ensure best results.
Serving suggestions for Miso Glazed Black Cod
This miso cod is a great simple recipe. I love it served with pan seared bok choy. Take about 4 medium sized bok choy heads, chop them up, then toss the thick white parts in a skillet with a little oil to soften them. Once the white parts are cooked, toss in the softer green parts and cook until wilted. Finish the bok choy with a few dashes of toasted sesame oil.
Cooking to bok choy in the same pan as you’re going to cook the cod ensures that the pan is nice and hot before you begin cooking the fish.
Want to try this flavorful fish with another side? It goes well with simple vegetable recipes, like Air fryer green beans, Snap peas, Shishito peppers, or Roasted broccoli, some white rice, or try serving it with udon noodles or Peanut rice noodles.
How to prepare this recipe
This recipe is really easy to make, and yet so impressive.
Bring the sake, mirin, and sugar to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes to evaporate the alcohol. Add the miso paste, and when the miso has dissolved completely, remove from heat and allow to cool.
Dry the fish with a paper towel. Pour the miso marinade under and onto the fish, and place in a non-reactive dish. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let marinate in the refrigerator for as little as 2 hours, and up to 3 days.
Again, I prefer to do a quicker marinade, making the marinade in the morning, letting it sit all day, and cooking it that night for dinner.
Place marinated fish in a hot pan and cook until the bottom of the fish browns. Flip fish and continue cooking until the other side is browned. Transfer to the oven to finish cooking.
Take the leftover miso marinade and reduce it in a small pan (I just use the same one that I made the marinade in), until it’s thickened. Pour the sauce over the cooked fish.
What is white miso?
Miso is cooked soybeans mashed with a grain (usually rice or barley) that’s been cultured and fermented. When it’s all done, it’s a thick salty paste that’s commonly used soups, marinades, and more. I find that it adds a nice umami flavor to vegetarian dishes.
White miso, also called Shiro, is sweet and mild. It’s made with fewer soybeans and more white rice koji than other miso pastes.
The miso marinade in this recipe adds that nice sweetness to the black cod. I have found that different brands will have different textures (some are grittier than others), and slightly different flavors (some are sweeter or saltier than others).
That being said, I have also found that my grocery store typically only carries one brand. So buy whatever they have, because if I recommend a particular brand, the store may not have that one any way.
I have also found that miso burns really easily; you will most likely get some charring when you cook this recipe. It’s ok, the charring is super flavorful, and actually desirable. Just don’t let it char too much! This isn’t blackened cod.
Can I use something else instead of the sake or mirin?
Normally, in most recipes, I say that it’s fine to replace the alcohol with broth or water. But, in this case, so much of the flavor comes from the sake and the mirin, that I don’t recommend it.
The sharpness of the miso and sweetness of the mirin work wonderfully to cut the fish’s fattiness.
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Miso Glazed Black Cod Recipe
Miso Glazed Black Cod
- ¼ cup sake
- ¼ cup mirin
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¼ cup white miso paste
- 1 pound black cod defrosted if frozen
- Bring the sake, mirin, and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Turn down the heat to a simmer, and simmer for 10 minutes to evaporate the alcohol. Keep the heat at low, and add the miso paste, whisking to combine. When the miso has dissolved completely, remove from heat. And cool to room temperature.
- Dry the black cod fillets thoroughly with a paper towel. Slather the fish with the miso marinade and place in a non-reactive dish. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let marinate in the refrigerator for as little as 2 hours, and up to 3 days.
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Heat an oven-proof skillet over high heat on the stove top. Add enough oil to film the bottom of the pan. Place the fish skin-side-up on the pan and cook until the bottom of the fish browns and blackens in spots, about 2 minutes. Flip fish and continue cooking until the other side is browned, roughly 2 minutes. Transfer to the oven and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until fish is opaque and easily flakes with a fork.
- Take any remaining marinade and pour it into a small pan. Bring it to a simmer on medium-high heat. Allow the sauce to thicken to your liking, about 5 minutes. Pour the sauce over the top of the fish.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations, and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.