Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Nobu's Black Cod With Miso Served With Easy Wasabi Mashed Potatoes

You may be familiar with Nobu Matsuhisa and his many Nobu restaurants and cookbook. (My favorite Iron Chef, Masaharu Morimoto, was executive chef at the New York Nobu, before he hit the big time). I got the opportunity to eat in Nobu's restaurant when it opened in Hawaii last year for a friend's Birthday. The food was delicious and the bill, well it was staggering. I would recommend going for a couple of drinks and pupus rather than a whole dinner if you are not ready to shell out some serious cash. One of the dishes Nobu is most famous for (and therefore you can find similar takes at many restaurants here in Hawaii and elsewhere) is his Black Cod with Miso. Slightly sweet and silky smooth, it is a wonderful dish. I had tagged the recipe in July's Food & Wine: 10 Famous Chef's Dishes Simplified and when they had black cod steaks (not fillets but close enough!) on sale at Safeway this week, I decided to try it. I have been craving mashed potatoes, after seeing so many people pair their last Barefoot Blogger's Butterflied Chicken with them, so I decided to whip up some of my Easy Wasabi Mashed Potatoes to pair with the fish.

Nobu's Black Cod With Miso
Nobu Matsuhisa, Food & Wine July 2008

"Chef Way: This sweet and silky fish dish, which has been cloned at restaurants all over the country, is fairly simple to make, though it’s somewhat time-consuming: Nobu Matsuhisa of the Nobu restaurant empire recommends marinating the black cod in a good deal of the sake-miso marinade for 2 to 3 days. Easy Way: Let the fish marinate overnight in just enough sake and miso to coat it."

3 tablespoons mirin
3 tablespoons sake
1/2 cup white miso paste
1/3 cup sugar
Six 6- to 7-ounce skinless black cod fillets, about 1 1/2 inches thick
Vegetable oil, for grilling
Pickled ginger, for serving

In a small saucepan, bring the mirin and sake to a boil. Whisk in the miso until dissolved. Add the sugar and cook over moderate heat, whisking, just until dissolved. Transfer the marinade to a large baking dish and let cool. Add the fish and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Preheat the oven to 400°. Heat a grill pan and oil it. Scrape the marinade off the fish. Add the fish and cook over high heat until browned, about 2 minutes. Flip the fish onto a heavy rimmed baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes, until flaky. Transfer to plates and serve with pickled ginger.
MAKE AHEAD The marinade can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

I call these Easy Wasabi Mashed Potatoes because I make them in the microwave and I buy (preferably organic), small Yukon gold potatoes and leave the skin on. Its quicker and less of a pain and the peels add extra fiber and nutrients. However if it offends your sensibilities to have peels in your mash, you can peel them or cook the mashed potatoes anyway you like--just add the wasabi to your milk/cream mixture. I find the powdered wasabi is easy to use but if you are not familiar with using it you should know that the more it sits, the more flavor/heat comes out--meaning that if you taste the milk mixture or your potatoes right after you put the wasabi in you may not think it has enough heat but let it set about 5 minutes and it will have a lot more. I like the "heat" at a level so that when people eat my potatoes, they say "ooh, these are good--they have a slight kick to them" rather than bringing tears of pain to their eyes or bringing them to their knees. You of course can determine your own level of spiciness and wasabi heat.

Easy Wasabi Mashed Potatoes
Serves 4
About 10-12 small Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed well, peeling optional
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup low-fat or non-fat milk
1 Tbsp butter (optional but you are using low-fat milk)
4 tsp powdered wasabi
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
maccha salt to garnish (optional)
Scrub potatoes well and cut them into about 1 to 1 1/14 inch cubes then place potatoes into a microwave safe bowl and put broth on top. Cover with a lid (if you don't have a lid you can use plastic wrap if you put a hole in the center for the steam to release). Cook potatoes on high about 8-10 minutes or until you can very easily pierce the skin with a fork. Carefully remove potatoes from microwave, drain them well, and pour them into a large bowl. Meanwhile, heat 1 cup milk and 1 Tbsp butter in microwave until warm and butter is melted. Add three teaspoons wasabi powder to milk mixture and stir until thoroughly mixed. Add mixture to potatoes with salt and pepper. Mash with a potato masher or hand mixer until slightly creamy. Sprinkle a bit of maccha salt on top to garnish if desired.

Results: Although the steaks are not cut quite as nicely as the fillets and it is not plated as well as the restaurant does it, the fish was absolutely delicious. I opted for Food & Wine's "Easy Way", making the marinade and letting it sit on the fish for 24 hours which I think was sufficient. The only time consuming part is marinating the fish, otherwise it goes together quickly. The fish was very tender and a bit hard to keep together but again, I think it was how the steaks were cut. Big bonus, in Hawaii a serving of the fish, just the fish, at Nobu's is $23.00. I bought two slightly smaller steaks (twice what is shown cut in the picture) for $6.31. Since I had mirin, sake and miso already in my pantry, it made the dish relatively inexpensive. Although they don't have wasabi mashed potatoes on the menu, Nobu's average side dish price is about $20.00 so although I don't have the exact price of my organic Yukon gold potatoes, they were about $4.00-$5.00 I think. Quite a bargain when you think about it. The fish is so rich that you don't need a lot of it and because of its richness, I would consider it an occasional splurge rather than an everyday meal. Its nice to know I could recreate this dish easily. I plated it all together with the wasabi mash, some pickled ginger and a few squiggles of the miso marinade and served it with a little cold sake and a green salad (not pictured). The fish was like "butter" and the potatoes were creamy with that hit from the wasabi to wake up the tastebuds--a delicious restaurant style meal in the comfort of home for a fraction of the price.


  1. You made that? Wow it looks professional!

  2. Deb, I am so impressed. What an absolutely gorgeous dish. I'm not much of a seadfood lover, but I certianly would be willing to give this a try. Actually, I'm licking my lips now! Thanks for the nice photos.

  3. Yum, this looks absolutely amazing Deb! I totally want to try those potatoes too - they sound delicious! Look at you, plating up professional style dishes at home - I'm sooo impressed!!

  4. I've always like Morimoto, too...but Sakai reminded me of a grandfather, and Chen just looked jolly!

  5. That looks like you ordered it, not made it. I love the easy potato recipe. I've never done it in the micro, but you can bet I will this week. The fish does look buttery, you can just see it lying there, tender and surrendering. Yum.

  6. Foodycat--Thanks!

    Teresa--thank you. It is not a "fishy" taste so you might like it!

    Michelle--thanks--I try! ;-) The potaotes are easy to do and good!

    Stephanie--I like the others too, but Morimoto has my heart! ;-)

    Prudy--It is the lazy woman's way to make potatoes. If I use large potatoes I peel them first but the little ones are too much work to do that!

  7. I think it looks beautiful! I'm never able to make dinner-food look pretty like that...

  8. I have not had black cod but did notice that recipe in F&W. Good for you for trying it!
    It looks really good, and the mashies! I am a skin on Yukon Gold gal and I loves my wasabi. Sounds like a winning combo.
    I do have all those ingredients, I just have to keep an eye out for black cod. Or something similar.
    Maybe you can teach me the difference between these miso pastes. I have two and at the store they had about 6 different kinds.

  9. That's probably the dish Nobu is best known for. I hope I can do the original justice if I ever try this.

  10. Natashya--thanks! The two main kinds are red and white. The red is a little earthier and the white more delicate. Then there are variations, like with buckwheat. They can be interchanged somewhat but I like the white for more delicate things.

    Jude--I am sure you can!


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