Crispy Skin Black Cod, Spinach Dashi
Here is a black cod dish inspired by Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, but probably not in the way one would think. The legendary chef’s arguably most popular recipe is Miso Marinated Black Cod. A preparation that is absolutely worth every accolade. We recently enjoyed his signature black cod fillet at Nobu Paris Las Vegas, along with several other incredible dishes.
But here, I am preparing Alaska black cod simply, sautéed with crispy skin. It is served over a complex broth inspired by Nobu’s cookbook Nobu West where he shares a soup made with watercress (or spinach), dashi, and soy milk.
Black cod’s silky-rich luxurious flesh and its contrasting crispy skin are complemented by the extraordinary broth where spinach brings bright earthy green flavor and color, dashi adds umami and hints of the sea, tamari for salty notes, soy milk for a light creaminess, and rice vinegar for acidity. Steamed white rice is served on the side, it is heavenly dipped in the spinach dashi. Micro watercress is a nod to Chef Nobu’s original recipe.
Crispy Skin Black Cod, Spinach Dashi Recipe
Idea Adapted from Nobu’s Watercress (or Spinach) and Soy Milk Soup
- 8 oz. fresh spinach
- 1 1/4 c. dashi
- 7 oz. soy milk (unsweetened)
- 2 T. low-sodium tamari
- 1 T. rice vinegar (or to taste)
Blend all ingredients in a high-performance blender (Vitamix) on the hot soup program. Let cool to lukewarm before serving. Alternatively, blend in a traditional blender, then heat on stovetop and let cool to lukewarm. Strain through a fine mesh sieve before serving.
Nobu’s Recipe for Dashi
- 4 1/2 c. water
- 1/3 oz. kombu
- 1 oz. dried bonito flakes
Heat water and kombu together slowly in a saucepan over medium heat. Just before the water boils, take out the kombu, add the bonito flakes, and turn off the heat. Leave the stock until the bonito flakes sink to the bottom of the pan and then strain. (From Nobu West by Nobu Marsuhisa and Mark Edwards)
Crispy Skin Black Cod
Let black cod fillets come close to room temperature before cooking. Dry the fillets with paper towels. Score the skin with 3 or 4 slashes. Make sure the skin is dry before cooking!
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat with enough oil (we like avocado oil) to lightly coat the entire bottom of the pan. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Place fish skin-side-down in hot oil and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until the skin is crispy.
Flip and cook the other side. These fillets were of medium thickness so they were cooked for two minutes on the second side. Thinner fillets might take one minute, thicker fillets might need 3 minutes.
- spinach dashi
- cucumber, thinly sliced
- radish, thinly sliced
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- toasted sesame oil
- crispy skin black cod fillets
- micro watercress
- edible flower confetti (optional)
- steamed white rice
Strain a shallow amount of spinach dashi into bowls. Arrange cucumber and radish to form a raft for the fish. Season vegetables with salt and pepper. Drizzle dashi with sesame oil. Place fish in the center, skin-side-up. Garnish with micro watercress and flower confetti. Serve rice on the side.
Recipes Inspired by Nobu
Black Cod over Fresh Fettuccine in Dashi Broth here
White King Salmon here
Spicy Salmon with Shrimp Chips here