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Miso-glazed rock cod with dashi, bok choi and fiddlehead fern

RockcoddashiSo thanks to my newfound emancipation from the working world, I’ve had the time and energy to think about cooking again. I was recently inspired by a recipe I saw on another food blog, Cuisineazine, for Chilean sea bass, miso-style. We’ve had similar dishes at Hamano and Ame, and so I felt that was a good place to start. I couldn’t find Chilean sea bass, so used rock cod as an alternative. Any firm, white fish in the cod or bass family should do, but Chilean sea bass is certainly preferable.

Given the astonishingly crappy weather we’ve endured, I wanted to serve it with a broth, so I made a simple dashi. I know DPaul (who took the photo) likes bok choi, so that became the vegetable, and Whole Foods had fiddlehead fern, which I just couldn’t resist. A side of brown rice rounded out the meal.

We accompanied the meal with Momokawa Pearl nigori sake. We both love nigori, usually for its melon and pear notes. Momokawa Pearl is a little different, less fruity and in fact has a distinct wintergreen finish. Very refreshing. Recipe after the jump.

Miso-glazed rock cod with dashi, bok choi and fiddlehead fern
1 lb. rock cod or other firm, white-fleshed fish, cut into 1/4 lb. steaks
3/4 c. white miso
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. dry sake
1 c. mirin

For the dashi:
4-5 c. water
1 strip kombu seaweed, rinsed in cold water
1/2 c. bonito flakes (katsuobushi)
pinch of salt

2 heads baby bok choi, cut into bite-size pieces
approx 12-16 heads fiddlehead fern, stems trimmed

In a large bowl, whisk together the miso, sugar, sake and mirin into an opaque marinade. Pour into a large zipper bag, add the fish, and seal, squeezing out as much air as possible. Massage the fish to cover all over with the marinade (there will be more than enough). Refrigerate for at least two hours.

In a medium saucepan, bring water to boil, add kombu and boil for 4-5 minutes. Turn off heat, add bonito flakes and salt, and let steep for a couple minutes. Strain and return broth to saucepan. This can be done as much as 8 hours ahead, and allowed to cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350º. Add 1 Tbsp vegetable oil to a large, oven-safe skillet and heat over medium heat. Bring dashi back to a simmer. Remove fish from marinade, dabbing off excess with a paper towel. When the oil is shimmering and wisps of smoke appear, sear the fish approximately 3 minutes on each side, getting a nice golden crust. Move the pan to the oven for about 5 minutes. Blanche bok choi and fern heads in the dashi approximately 20-30 seconds.

Mound bok choi in the bottom of a soup bowl, and pour dashi over. Add the fish steak on top, and dress with fiddlehead ferns. Serve immediately with a side of rice and a nice nigori sake.

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