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This is honestly one of my favourite dishes to eat. Buttery black cod is a heavenly vessel for the sweet, salty and savoury, miso glaze. Amazing with a bowl of piping hot rice, the sauce is so good, I’ve seen spoons, fingers, and even tongues scrape every last bit of this sauce off of plates.

Because the fish is simmered in liquid, it’s also impossible to dry this fish out. Just be sure to simmer rapidly enough near the end to really reduce the simmering broth to a thick glaze.

Served with rice, mustard green gomaae, tofu hiyayakko with shiso and ume garnish, vegetable nimono, and clear broth with tofu

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • Misoni stock
    • ¾ cup water
    • 5 cm piece of dashi kombu (kelp), optional
    • 2 Tbsp cooking sake
    • ½ – 1 Tbsp ginger, julienned
    • 2 Tbsp sugar
    • 2 Tbsp awase miso paste (to be added part-way through)
  • 2 filets black cod (a.k.a. sablefish, or other light coloured fish) – skin on
  • 1 parchment paper “snowflake” (see previous recipe)


  1. Prepare all of your ingredients and the parchment paper “snowflake”. This recipe is much easier to do if your ingredients are ready to go. Julienne the ginger, cut the dashi kombu piece, and measure out the water, sake, sugar, and miso.
  2. Heat the simmering liquid. In a shallow pot or frying pan with a lid, pour in water and sake, place in the kombu and bring to a boil.
  3. Prepare and add the fish. While you’re waiting for the liquid to boil, rinse the cut of fish and, with a sharp knife, score an “X” or a few slices through the skin to allow for flavor to penetrate. Once the liquid is boiling, place in the fish, skin-side up.
  4. Add ginger and sugar and reduce the heat. Once the edges have cooked a little, and the water has returned to a boil, reduce the heat to a rapid simmer (you should still see lots of small bubbles) and add ginger and sugar to the water. Stir in the sugar until it has dissolved.
  5. Cover with the “snowflake” and simmer. Cover the fish with the parchment paper snowflake, making sure that the edges are in the liquid, drawing the liquid up over the fish and cooking it from the top as well as the bottom. Close the lid, and cook for about 6-8 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish. You will be ready for the next step when the fish looks nearly cooked through.
  6. Add the miso paste. Remove the cover and take out the cooked kombu.  In a small bowl, mix miso with a couple of spoons of the hot liquid from the pot. Add a few more spoonfuls of hot liquid and continue to stir until you have a thin paste. Pour it back into the saucepan, and mix it in thoroughly.
  7. Reduce the liquid to a glaze. Spoon the flavourful liquid over the fish while you continue to simmer it for a further 5 – 8 minutes, until the sauce has thickened. The timing will depend on how quickly your frying pan conducts heat – stainless steel is good for a quick reducing time.
  8. Carefully remove and plate the fish. Because it is so tender, be sure to use a wide spatula that will support the entire piece of fish on its way to the plate. Serve with a spoonful (or more!) of the miso glaze.


Good to Know

*When making more than 2 servings in one large saucepan, increase the water by 1/4 cup per additional piece of fish, and adjust the rest of the ingredients accordingly (e.g. add an extra 1/2 Tbsp each of sugar, miso, sake). The extra fish will simply be sharing the same poaching liquid, and you want it to reduce enough to give you a nice glaze. Better to start with less water and add more if you need it, than to have too much and have to boil and boil… and boil the fish.

Reader ParticipATE-tion:

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Kate's Halibut Misoni

Kate's Halibut Misoni, made with barley miso