This simple marinade made with equal parts miso, sake, mirin, and sugar, will keep in your fridge for weeks, putting miso “pickled” fish within reach whenever you want it. Here we’ve used coho salmon, but it’s also great with any fish that has some fat to it. Just let the fish swim in this sweet and savory liquid for a day or two before cooking. Then place it under the broiler for a nice blistered skin and caramelized exterior. It’s terrific served (as here) over earthy buckwheat noodles or with rice.
- Misozuke marinade:
- ½ cup sake
- ½ cup mirin
- ½ cup white or yellow miso
- ½ cup sugar
- Noodle bowl:
- 8 to 10 ounces coho salmon, pin bones removed, cut into 2 pieces
- ½ teaspoon shichimi togarashi
- One bunch of spinach with stems (about 8 ounces)
- 6 cups water
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 6 to 7 ounces dry soba noodles
Make the marinade
In a small saucepan, combine sake and mirin and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Add the miso and sugar and whisk to combine. Return the pan to medium heat and cook, whisking, until the sugar is dissolved and the sauce is thickened just enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes. Watch closely to avoid boiling over or scorching. Remove from heat and let cool.
Pat fish dry with a paper towel then transfer to a sealable plastic bag. Add 1 cup of marinade (save the rest for another use), press out any air and seal the bag. Refrigerate for 24 hours or up to 3 days. The longer the fish marinates, the firmer the fish will be when cooked.
Cook the fish
Preheat the broiler to its highest setting and set the rack 6 inches from the heat source. Remove fish from the bag and lightly scrape off some of the marinade (discard the used marinade). Place the fish on a sturdy baking sheet, skin-side up, and broil without turning, until the skin browns and sizzles, and the salmon is just cooked through, 6 to 7 minutes depending on thickness. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with shichimi togarashi.
blanch the spinach
In a medium pot over high heat, bring 6 cups water to a boil. Add the spinach and blanch just until wilted, about 1 minute. Use tongs or a spider to transfer the spinach to a plate. Leave water in the pot and return to the boil.
Cook noodles and serve
In a small bowl combine the mirin and soy sauce. Pour this mixture over the spinach. Let marinate as you make the soba. Add the soba noodles to the boiling water and cook according to the directions on the package. Drain and rinse the noodles in cold water to remove the starch, then gently run under warm water to reheat. Divide the soba between two bowls. Top with the spinach and any mirin-soy mixture in the bowl. Top with the fish, and enjoy!
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Pair it Up
A fresh, clean honjozo sake works in the marinade and on the table. For a wine, an off-dry Riesling has just enough sweetness to complement the salty miso.
Know Your Cook
Michael Harlan Turkell
Michael Harlan Turkell, a once aspiring chef, is now an award-winning food photographer and writer. He has photographed many prominent chefs’ cookbooks, co-authored a few, and even wrote one of his own, ACID TRIP: Travels in the Word of Vinegar. Turkell also hosted The Food Seen podcast on Heritage Radio Network for nearly a decade. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.