The Birthday Dinner: Course 5 Nobu’s Miso Cod

When I was living in Melbourne, Nobu at Crown was a 6 minute walk from my apartment on St Kilda Rd and became a “semi” regular treat. Everything on the menu is always truly exceptional and as I walk out the door I can’t wait to return.

This is Nobu Matsuhisa’s signiture dish and the one that made Robert De Niro want to invest and become a part owner. This recipe, which requires some forward planning, was leaked by an ex employee of Nobu’s London restaurant and has been doing the rounds on the internet for a few years now. This is something that you can make at home, saving yourself almost $50, and is just as good as the real thing. This was definitely not being left off the birthday menu.



Serves 2 (or 4 as a 6 course)

Miso Cod
2 pieces of *cod
1/4 cup sake
1/4 cup mirin
4 tbs of miso paste
3 tbs sugar

Pickled Ginger
Large straight knob of ginger
2 tbs salt
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbs pink/red food dye

Kale and Shiitake Salad
1 bunch of kale, chopped (substitute silverbeet)
1 cup of fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 gloves of garlic, minced
1 tbs ginger, minced
2 tbs sake
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbs soy sauce
Oil for stir frying
Black and white sesame seeds

*Cod: I’ve never seen black cod, I used a New Zealand blue-eye cod, however there are so many varieties, gold spot, barramundi, birdwire, black, blue spot, chinaman, coral, flowery, greasy, footballer maori, potato, sleepy, etc, etc,. And then we have the groupers! Any good quality, slightly firm and flaky white fish will do.

First, combine all marinade ingredients, sake, mirin, miso and sugar, stir well until the sugar and miso are dissolved.

Pat cod dry, cut into 3cm by 6cm portions and coat generously with marinade, reserving 2 tablespoons or so for serving. Place the portions into a zip-lock bag expelling any air and leave in the fridge to “steep” for at least 48 hours. This step is key, don’t compromise on steeping time as it will give a silky, slightly sweet moist finish to the fish.

Peel and cut your ginger into long spears. Blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds and then remove and cover with salt, toss to coat fully and leave to sit for 15 minutes. Rinse and then cover with the sugar, vinegar and food colouring. Mix until sugar is dissolved and then leave for 48 hours.

On day of serving: Remove the cod from the fridge and the bag and let it get up to room temperature. Place the fish on an oiled non-stick tray and place in a hot oven until the marinade starts to brown and caramelise, about 10 minutes, then lower the heat and cook until just cooked all the way through, about another 10 minutes.

To make the salad, in a little oil, stir fry the garlic and ginger until golden, crispy and fragrant. Add sliced shiitake mushrooms and continue to fry until golden brown. You almost want everything a little toasted and nearly overdone so you get that nutty flavour from the garlic and the mushrooms. Once done, remove from the pan and set aside.

While still hot, deglaze the pan with sake, once the alcohol has cooked off, add chopped kale and toss in the liquid until it has started to wilt (Kale will retain it’s shape, unlike silverbeet). Add the mushroom mix, soy and sesame oil. Continue to stir fry for a few more minutes.

Once the fish is ready and the kale is cooked to your taste you are ready to serve.

Serve with pickled ginger and remaining sauce, with a side serve of the kale salad.

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