Friday, November 10, 2006

Jamie's black cod with steamed pak choi and cucumber

The Japanese food revolution, I must confess, seems to have passed me by. There are Japanese restaurants in the area and I have of course seen the trays of sushi in M and S, not to mention the ad-hoc Japanese section in our local Tesco, sporting a plethora of oddly-named ingredients in red packets and including instant miso soup and sushi sheets. For some reason, though, the only Japanese ingredients I have bought have been Kikkoman's soy sauce and wasabi paste (originally for a Nigella recipe I have forgotten about, but it has a kick like horseradish...). Consequently I didn't really know what black cod was, nor was I particularly bothered about finding out; black cod didn't sound all that appealing, to be honest.

This recipe is Jamie's take on Nobu's black cod and it is pleasingly simple - in fact, it is incredibly easy. The fish (cod or other white fish fillets) is marinaded overnight in a cooked and cooled mixture of honey, miso paste, sake or alternatively white wine, ginger, red chilli and lemon grass. The blurb suggests that you 'might have to duck and dive' for the miso paste (which is a soya bean paste) but that it is in any good Asian store or supermarket. Needless to say it wasn't in the giant Tesco Extra near our house, at least, it wasn't in the main part of the shop, but I found it in the healthfood shop that seems to be inside yet curiously separate from Tesco itself. I didn't bother buying sake and used white wine.

After the fish has marinaded for 24 hours, it is simply grilled until the top of the fish has caramelized slightly.

Jamie suggests serving this fish with steamed pak choi and cucumber; the cucumber is peeled, halved, deseeded, and sliced into strips, while the pak choi is roughly quartered.

The fish and steamed greens are served with leftover miso marinade loosened with lime juice and a few drizzles of soy sauce; I wasn't sure how much flavour the fish would have so we just put the soy and the miso marinade on the table to serve ourselves. As it turned out, the fish had an incredibly rich flavour - the miso is already strong and salty-sweet in itself, but it is enriched further by the chilli, ginger, lemongrass and honey. The steamed greens offered a lovely fresh contrast. If this is Japanese food, even Jamie's take on Japanese food, then I would love to try more. This fish dish is the sort of food that wakes you up, zesty, heady, invigorating, without ever being overpowering or heavy. Again I am so glad to have embarked on this project or I would have overlooked this completely; instead, I am eagerly anticipating venturing further down the road of Japanese (or pseudo-Japanese) cooking.


Anonymous said...

This looks completely delicious! Congrats on getting so far! Freya

Gravy Queen said...

Wonderful - I look forward to trying this one soon, having had the most delightful Japanese dining experience for my birthday this week. Plus I adore pak choi too, yummy!