Friday, April 8, 2011

Miso marinated sable

It's sable season again!  You might see it sold as "black cod" or "butterfish."  This dish was inspired by Ming Tsai's miso-sake marinated Chilean sea bass.  I believe he actually uses sable for it in his restaurant now.  There is only one problem with this fish -- after you taste it, nothing else that swims will ever measure up to it.

Miso marinated Sable

Fish substitutions: salmon, chilean sea bass, halibut, steelhead trout, or pretty much any relatively thick fillets that are not too dense.

Serves 4

4 sable fillets without skin (6oz each)
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup white miso (a.k.a. shiro miso)

At least 2 hours before cooking or up to 24
  1. In a medium bowl, combine sugar, mirin, canola, and miso. Whisk thoroughly to combine. Add sable and coat with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 2 - 24 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 300F. Wrap a broiler pan with foil. Wipe all the marinade off the fish using paper towels and place it on the boiler pan. 
  3. Turn on the broiler. Broil sable 4 inches away from the flame just until browned, 3-5 minutes. You might need to adjust the distance from the flame and timing to suit your broiler. Keep a close eye on the fish. If you see no color after 2 minutes, move it a little closer to the heating element. If you see too much color, move it further down. If the first side browned, but you still have more than half your estimated cooking time* left, flip the fish and brown the second side. 
  4. To test for doneness, separate the flakes in the thickest part and look inside. Sable is done when a trace of translucency remains in the center or when an instant read thermometer inserted in the center reads 115F (thermometer only works well on pieces thicker than 1 inch).  If the fish is not cooked through after the broiling step, reduce the heat to 300F and finish cooking fish in the middle of the oven.
*Estimated cooking time and flipping: Plan on 6-8 minutes total cooking time (broiling, plus finishing in the oven if necessary) per inch of thickness. If you are working with fillets thicker than 1.5 inches or have a particularly powerful broiler, you'll be able to flip the fish and brown it on both sides. But if the first side takes more than half your estimated cooking time to brown, don't flip the fish. Just turn off the broiler and finish it in the oven.


Kalyn Denny said...

It sounds fabulous. I don't think I've ever had this type of fish.

Nika said...

This looks beautiful! Could you say a bit about what is it seen served with? It looks more interesting than my usual side of rice :)

Portugal said...

Im so impress of this recipe...looks yummy!

Helen said...

it's a farro salad

Ken said...

Ming Tsai has always served miso marinated butterfish/sablefish at his restaurant. I made the mistake of thinking it was our new england cod (aka "bland as hell with worms in the head" cod) since sablefish is also called "black cod". This technique doesn't work with it at all :-P

BTW, which brand of Farro did you get from Amazon? I think it's the "Roland Farro Semipearled" but wanted to confirm lest I buy something that's semi-chewy ;-)

Helen said...

I put a link with a picture to the farro that I got on amazon. Maybe it looks too much like an add? It's right in my farro post.

When I said that Ming Tsai is serving sable now, I meant that he used to serve Chilean Sea Bass years ago (not new england cod). I agree with you that regular cod is somewhat pathetic. Salmon would be a good substitution if sable can't be found.

Anonymous said...

I've never bought this type of fish, either. I'll have to look for it next time I pass by the fish counter. Yum!


Joanna said...

This sounds so good! I've had smoked sable before (as an alternative to smoked salmon) and it's incredible, but I don't think I've ever had the fish cooked in a more traditional way before.

Do you think this recipe would work on the stove in a non-stick pan, maybe with just a little bit of oil? My broiler is currently out of commission, but I would love to try it this week.

Helen said...

Yes, you can do it in a non-stick or well seasoned cast iron skillet. But be careful, the fish burns very quickly due to the sugar in the marinate, so check it often. Unless cooking 1/2 inch or thinner pieces, you'll need to finish in the oven.

Louise said...

We eat and cook a lot of fish, but my husband and I aren't at all familiar with sable, even the name. I need to track some down.

Unknown said...

Is that really 1/2 cup of miso? It seemed like way too much when compared to the other ingredients. I made this last night, and sable is as good as you say. I've never had anything else like it! Worth the (VERY) high price

Helen said...

It is indeed 1/2 cup of miso, but if you want to use less, that's fine, the exact measurements are not that important for this marinade. you just want more salty (misso) than sweet (sugar and mirin).