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.
There are millions of recipes with the combination of spinach, cheese, and eggs – recipes from wildly different cultures including the Italian frittata, Greek spanakopita, Syrian jibn, French quiche, and so many more…
So why cook this one? Well, it’s easy and inexpensive! It’s crust-free, heavy on the vegetable and light on the eggs & cheese. It’s low-carb, gluten-free, vegetarian. And really quite tasty! A simple salad on the side is all it takes to make a fantastic brunch dish. Or slice it into cubes and serve it as part of a brunch buffet.
The Chef of the Century had a crowing Gallic Coq tattooed on his left arm, one he would often flaunt proudly. The rooster is the national bird of France. But could the tattoo also symbolize Paul Bocuse’s veneration for Poulet de Bresse?
Upon learning of the Chef’s passing on January 20th at 91 years-old, French President Emmanuel Macron lamented that his death had chefs everywhere weeping in their kitchens.
Mais oui. Here too.
My love affair with “Chicken and Morels Paul Bocuse” began decades ago in Chicago at a long-gone restaurant named Bistro 110 where fricassée of chicken was served on a bed of fresh sautéed spinach with a morel cream sauce.
The combination was brilliant. The creamy mushroom sauce infused the sautéed spinach and turned it into a French version of steakhouse-creamed-spinach. The synergy of earthy-nutty morels and impeccably cooked chicken resulted in a timeless dish. It was rich but not overly so, it was balanced in the style that the Chef was known for…classic yet modern.
In 2011 when Paul Bocuse was named “Chef of the Century” by the Culinary Institute of America, Jacques Pépin said, “Certainly he did more than any other chef in the world that I can think of to bring the chefs in the dining room and to make the profession respectable and to make us who we are now…Now the chefs are stars and it’s because of Paul Bocuse.”
For my birthday, I hosted a luncheon in honor of the Chef and served Chicken Fricassée inspired by him. Here is my recipe.
Chicken Chorizo Stew
Baby Spinach, Kale, and Chard
A golden roux with lots of vegetables and kidney beans is the backdrop for this southern-style Chicken Chorizo Stew. This gumbo-esque meal is hearty but not thick. Instead of okra and sassafras, it is chock full of baby greens – spinach, kale, and chard. It’s served with steamed brown rice on the side. A splash of vinegary Crystal Louisiana Hot Sauce adds zippy notes and brightens the flavors.
Green Velvet Soup Spinach, Zucchini, Potato with Herbs & Spices Toasted Pine Nuts, Crema, Chili Oil Garnish
It’s a soup with a luxurious deep green color and velvety texture. Spinach, zucchini, and potatoes are the base for this satisfying and healthful potage. A zippy garnish makes it anything but boring.
Fresh cilantro and toasted dried spices give this green soup a wonderful depth of flavor. Dried cumin seed, coriander seed, and fennel seed are added at the beginning of the cooking process to unlock their intense flavors. Fresh cilantro is added at the end of the process to preserve its essence and verdant aromas.
Where the chili oil adds a fiery touch, the Mexican crema add a cool richness. Unlike a “cream” soup, there is less than a tablespoon of cream per serving. Pine nuts add texture and that toasty note, which is mirrored in the toasted spices.