When a local haunt shutters after nearly twenty years and it was owned by the handsome, generously-spirited celebrity chef, Ming Tsai, there is real cause to wonder if a dish that has graced the menu for two decades might really be cooked at home. Ming credits his signature sake miso sea bass as one of the dishes that cemented his career. It is this fish that helped catapult this Ivy League graduate with a mechanical engineering degree into a coveted circle of James Beard award-winning best chefs in America status. The consummate teacher, Ming, shares this recipe in his first cookbook, Blue Ginger. This recipe veers only from Ming's in that black cod is subbed for the Chilean sea bass and that it is simplified by serving without sushi rolls and Ming's soy syrup glaze and cooking the fish under a broiler instead of grilling or cooking stovetop. So yummy is this fish it just may become part of the regular family dinner rotation, or at the very least, a not-soon-to-be-forgotten meal for social gatherings.

cuisine Asian
difficulty Simple
season Year Round
serves 4

Ingredients for the fish

  • 1 cup light miso (shiro-miso, mellow miso)
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup safflower oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Finely ground white pepper
  • Sweet soy sauce
  • Wasabi oil (1/4 cup wasabi powder, 1 tablespoon mirin, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/4 cup safflower oil blended)
  • 2 pounds black cod (cut from the thick part of the cod into 4" L x 2" W pieces)

for the wasabi potato puree

  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into even chunks
  • 4 Yukon Gold potatoes peeled and cut into even chunks
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon prepared wasabi
  • sea salt

Directions for the fish

  1. In medium nonreactive bowl, combine the miso, mirin, sake, ginger, oil, and sugar. Stir to blend. Add the fish, turn to coat and marinate, covered and refrigerated overnight (or for at least 4 hours).
  2. Prepare a heavy cast iron skillet in a 500 degree F. oven for 20 minutes.
  3. Wipe the marinade from the fish with a paper towel and season with white pepper.
  4. Add the fish to a hot skillet and cook until the edges are crispy browned (about 3 to 4 minutes), turn and cook 2 minutes more until the second side of the fish is also nicely browned.
  5. Remove the fish to a serving platter or individual plates and serve with wasabi mashed potatoes, sweet soy sauce, and wasabi oil.

for the potatoes

  1. Put the potatoes in a large pot, fill with cold water and 1 tablespoon of sea salt. Boil until tender (a knife should slide easily through the chunk and the potato should not be falling apart).
  2. Pour the potatoes into a colander and drain excess water completely.
  3. While the potatoes are cooling a bit, warm the milk and the butter in a medium sized heavy bottomed pot.
  4. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, push them through a potato ricer and into the butter and milk mixture. Stir in the wasabi and taste for seasoning.