Surprised? Forehead slap in disbelief that this is not another sugar filled dessert recipe?  I know, me too!  But this dish is so yummy and so simple I just had to pass it along.

Lately I have been going to Whole Foods to shop for my seafood and meat.  Why?  Partially out of environmental guilt, and I know this is going to sound awful, because it is much easier on the pocketbook when it is just Wes and me.  If you know my kids you know what I mean.  While Wes and I are feasting on sushi or a beautiful piece of grilled salmon my kids are eating dorm food or cold pizza.  I’m not that cold hearted though, they pick where and what they want to eat whenever they come home or if we go to visit them and its definitely no holds barred.


While perusing the seafood selection at WF I came across some black cod also known as sablefish.  I first tasted this lovely fish at a Chinese restaurant, Hong Kong Flower Lounge in the City and was absolutely floored.  I was attending a banquet and expected the usual, a whole fish steamed with ginger and onions and finished with soy sauce and oil-which, don’t get me wrong, I love.  Instead out from the kitchen comes this little chunk of fish, no head, no tail, unceremoniously plopped on a platter unadorned with any of the usual trappings. Hmm, ok, the outside had a nice toasty brown glaze, my guess it had been roasted.   Didn’t look like much but it is their signature dish.  I should give it a try.  I took a piece and popped it in my mouth…..BAM! WOW!  Flavor explosion, sweet, salty and smokey all at once and the texture-oh my, buttery, silky, fatty..holy mackerel, this was one DELICIOUS fish!  I raved about it all the way home (and that’s an hour drive from the City to Los Gatos).

Miso Black CodMore upside, this fish is on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s sustainable fish list and it is loaded with alpha omega fatty acids..woohoo, I think we have a winner.

For the sake of transparency, though not unique to black cod…if you can cook it on your grill outside, do it. If not, I hope you have air fresheners and good ventilation in your kitchen or all the neighborhood cats will be hanging out at your house.  But that’s fish for you. Oh, and it will set you back a pretty penny but oh so worth it.

I immediately bought a piece (yes, one piece, just me and Wes) and googled recipes for Black Cod.  The first recipe that jumped off the screen was Nobu’s Miso Roasted Black Cod.  His recipe has been shared so many times I’m sure it has rock star status on Pinterest.  It’s simple to prepare and just takes a couple of minutes to assemble.  Yep, stupid easy!  Make the marinade, toss it and the fish in a ziploc bag and let it sit luxuriating in the miso for 24-48 hours.

The marinade is all of 4 ingredients. White miso paste, Mirin (Japanese cooking wine), Sake (Japanese rice wine) and sugar.  That’s it folks.  You can embellish if you want.  A touch of Ponzu (citrus soy sauce), a dash of sesame oil or a smidgen of grated fresh ginger would go well.  This first time I stuck to the recipe and it was delicious but I’m sure I will experiment. Its how I roll.

If you like fish, run, don’t walk to your nearest seafood purveyor or Whole Foods and pick up some Black Cod. So good.

A Fable of Sablefish (Miso Black Cod)

10 minutes

15 minutes

25 minutes

Serving Size: 2

Easy and delicious roasted black cod!


  • 2 tablspoons sake
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 1.5 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 black cod fillets, about 1/2 pound each
  • 1 scallion, chopped for garnish


  • Bring the miring and sake to a boil in a small non-reactive saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat and add miso, stir to dissolve the miso. Add sugar, increase heat and continue to cook until sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside to cool.
  • If the plan is to use your oven, you can take the skin off the fish. If grilling leave it on to help keep the fish together.
  • Once cooled, spread the marinade on the fish evenly. Cover tightly or seal it in ziplock bag. Let it sit for 24-48 hours
  • To cook: Preheat oven to 400 degrees or outdoor grill.
  • Oven method: Roast at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Finish fish by broiling a couple of minutes to hear the edges and brown the outside.
  • You can also panfry the fish first to brown and create those crispy edges before finishing the fish in the oven for 7-10 minutes or until fish flakes.
  • Grill method: Place fish skin side up on grill and cook on indirect heat for 8-10 minutes.
  • Garnish with green onions and serve with pickled ginger if you like.


You can use any firm fish with this marinade and method, salmon, bass or halibut would also work.

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One thought on “A Fable of Sablefish (Miso Black Cod)

  1. You have to tell my mom about this! The first time I ever had miso black cod was with her at The House, in San Francisco. It’s her favorite! Looks delicious! I don’t know if Whole Foods in Texas will have this fish 🙁

Thanks for reading, comments welcomed!