“Even my mother” makes this dish pretty well, says Masaharu Morimoto, famous chef, restaurateur and author of Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking—“that’s how easy this dish is to cook. Because it takes only a little extra effort and adds a ton of flavor, I like to break with tradition and reduce the cooking liquid into a more intensely flavorful sauce.” For extra color and flavor, add green onions during the last few minutes of cooking time.
Morimoto’s Black Cod with Sake, Soy Sauce and Sugar
- 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) dashi (dried fish and kelp stock), kombu dashi (kelp stock) or water
- 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) sake
- 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) mirin
- 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. Japanese soy sauce
- 1 Tbs. sugar
- 4 coins peeled ginger, each about 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick
- 4 skin-on black cod fillets, each about 4 oz. (125 g)
- 1/4 lb. (125 g) drained medium-firm tofu, cut into 4 equal pieces
1. In a fry pan or Dutch oven over high heat, combine the dashi, sake, mirin, soy sauce, sugar and ginger and bring to a boil. Add the fish to the pan, skin side up, in a single layer and cover with a piece of foil crimped into a round about 2 inches (5 cm) smaller in diameter than the pan. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 12 minutes. The fish will be fully cooked after about 8 minutes; the longer cooking time is meant to infuse the fish with the flavor of the cooking liquid.
2. Remove the foil, transfer the fish to a plate and increase the heat to bring the liquid to a boil. Add the tofu to the pan and cook, turning once, until the liquid reduces slightly and its flavor intensifies, 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Return the fish to the pan and continue cooking, basting constantly with a spoon, for 1 to 2 minutes.
4. Serve immediately in shallow bowls with some of the cooking liquid. Or, even better, remove from the heat, cover with the crimped foil and let the fish sit for 10 to 15 minutes, so the fish absorbs even more flavor from the sauce. Serves 4.
Adapted from Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking, by Masaharu Morimoto (Ecco, 2016)