Crispy-Skin Cod, Ginger Braised Bok Choy

sustainable black cod
Crispy-Skin Local Sustainable Black Cod
Ginger Braised Baby Bok Choy
Garlic Chive Blossom Garnish

This simple preparation of Black Cod is a welcome respite between all the rich lavish holiday foods. Wild-caught locally, off the coast of Santa Barbara, this species is relatively abundant and harvested with methods that cause little damage to habitat and other marine life. The cod needs only to be seasoned with salt and pepper and cooked over high heat with olive oil to let the fabulous textures of crisp skin and silky flesh with a buttery flavor shine through.

The bok choy cooking method is equally straightforward. Flavored with ginger, soy, sesame, and  a bit of brown sugar – the braising liquid infuses the vegetable with umami flavors, a hint of sweetness and a note of ginger spiciness. This cod & bok choy make a delightful pair, especially when one is in the mood for a clean and uncomplicated yet satisfying meal.

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steamed sablefish in bok choy, shiitake, NAVY bean emulsion

steamed sablefish in bok choy, shiitake, navy bean emulsion
steamed sablefish with sautéed shiitake
wrapped in bok choy leaves
over NAVY beans, mung bean sprouts, kizami shoga
NAVY bean emulsion, society garlic blossom garnish

uss abraham lincoln

uss abraham lincoln cvn-72
nimitz class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier
commissioned november 1989
docked in the port of los angeles

For five days I could see the “island” of the Nimitz class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln from my kitchen window. An aircraft carrier’s “island” is the command center for flight-deck operations, as well as the ship as a whole. The island is about 150 feet tall, but it’s only 20 feet wide at the base, so it won’t take up too much space on the flight deck. The top of the island is outfitted with an array of radar and communications antennas.

She is a jaw-dropping sight – at 1092 ft. (over 3 football fields long), 252 ft. wide, weighing 100,000 tons, she accommodates approximately 70 aircraft. She is powered by two nuclear reactors which enable her to operate continuously 20 years without refueling. Her life span is an estimated 50 years. The USS Abraham Lincoln is the first aircraft carrier to be docked in the Port of Los Angeles in more than 20 years. Her visit here is the inspiration for my dish, featuring NAVY beans…

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black COD black TRUFFLE in crispy rice paper

Wild-Caught Fresh Black Cod
Stuffed with Fresh Black Winter Truffle
Crispy Rice Paper Wrapper
Truffle Oil/Truffle Flecks

This is special. An elegantly dressed all-green salad and a big, yeasty Champagne were its only accompaniments. The heady truffle with its unforgettable aromas, greatly affecting the mind and the senses, is purported to have aphrodisiac qualities. Would you consider serving fish sticks on Valentine’s Day?

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Black Cod with Miso, Black Radish & Ponzu

Black Cod with Miso
Over Black Radish and Ponzu
Radish Sprout Garnish

Fresh Black Cod, also known as Sablefish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Population levels are moderate and no overfishing is occurring. The life-span of a Sablefish is estimated to be longer than 90 years! More information on habitat and sustainability can be found at FishWatch U.S. Seafood Facts here.

Nobu-style Saikyo Miso
  • 3/4 c. saké
  • 3/4 c. mirin
  • 2 c. white miso paste
  • 1 1/4 c. granulated sugar
1. Bring the saké and the mirin to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Boil for 20 seconds to evaporate the alcohol.
2. Turn the heat down to low and add the miso paste, mixing with a wooden spoon. When the miso has dissolved completely, turn the heat up to high again and add the sugar, stirring constantly with the wooden spoon to ensure that the bottom of the pan doesn’t burn. Remove from heat once the sugar is fully dissolved. Cool to room temperature.
Miso recipe from Nobu: The Cookbook by Nobuyuki Matsuhisa. This recipes yields 3 cups. Since we did not use it all for the cod, we tried it the following night with fresh salmon and it was equally impressive.
Rinse the cod, pat dry with paper towels, then coat with the miso mixture. Nobu recommends marinating for 2 to 3 days. Since I only had an hour, that is how long it steeped. And it was still fabulous! Broil the cod under high heat until it browns, then bake at 350° for about 10 minutes until the fish is cooked through.

Black Radish

Black radish is at its peak in winter. Peel completely and slice into very thin rounds.

It has a lovely interior pattern. The crunchy somewhat pungent radish and slightly salty and citrusy ponzu are a great complement to the caramelized luxurious cod.
Nobu serves his Black Cod with Miso with a simple garnish of a few more drops of miso and a stalk of hajikami (pickled ginger stick).

We served the Black Cod with Miso over sliced black radish and ponzu sauce. Radish sprouts make a lively garnish.
If you are a fan of all types of fish, you will love Nobu: The Cookbook.

Black Cod Ponzu Yuzu

UPDATE: A more recent version of this dish (November 2021) can be found on Taste With The Eyes here.

Fresh Black Cod, also known as Sablefish, from the waters off the coast of Vancouver, BC. Black Cod flesh has large velvety flakes with a sweet, rich flavour due to its high Omega 3 oil content.

I pan sear the Cod in half olive oil/half butter with a hearty splash of Ponzu Shoyu Yuzu over medium high heat. This ponzu contains soy sauce, mirin, vinegar, sugar and yuzu juice. While cooking, the sugars in the ponzu caramelize to make a delicious crust.
Yuzu is a citrus fruit originating in Eastern Asia with tart flavors reminiscent of grapefruit and mandarin orange. Serve the fish over Ponzu Yuzu. Tempura vegetables and shrimp, with steamed rice on the side, make a great accompaniment.

You may recall some photos of my favorite Hispanic market, El Supermercado? Another of my favorite neighborhood markets is the Mitsuwa Marketplace. This huge store provides vast selection of Japanese groceries and products. Inside the shopping center, there are more than 20 specialty shops and a fabulous Restaurant Row offering authentic selections.

Excellent fish…

and produce
and desserts.

I’m addicted to the dinnerware…

all of it!

The best place in the Food Court for Ramen is Santouka.

Many…

…Beautiful Displays

A Wide Selection of Sake and Beverages

Great Bakery and more…
Mitsuwa Marketplaces are only located in Southern California, Chicagoland, and New Jersey. But the good news is that their products are available online too.

We are so fortunate to have such a variety of fabulous ethnic markets so close to home.