I have not featured many fish recipes here on Just Hungry. This is because at the moment I live in a landlocked country, where sea fish must be shipped in, and is expensive to boot. When I do buy some fish, I savor it as a treat. (I may be preparing myself for something that all fish eating people might have to endure soon, given the problems of overfishing.)
This is a classic miso marinade with a spicy twist. Instead of using just miso, I’ve added a little bit of kochujang, spicy Korean bean paste. I’ve used cod for this, but you could use any firm, flaky white fish instead - or even an oily fish such as salmon or swordfish. The pieces of fish should have a certain thickness, so thin fish like flounder won’t do.
Mix together all the ingredients except the fish until combined.
Put down a large piece of plastic. Spread the plastic with a layer of the marinate that is bigger than the surface area of the fish. Put a piece of cheesecloth or a single layer of paper towel on top of the marinade, then put the fish on top of that. Wrap the cheesecloth or paper towel around the fish, then smear more marinade on top.
Wrap the fish up in the plastic securely - you may want to double-wrap it. Leave it in the refrigerator for at least several hours, or overnight.
Peel away the plastic and paper towel or cheesecloth. Heat up a grill pan or a large frying pan, brushed with a little oil. Cook on both sides until the fish is cooked through. (The cooking time depends on the thickness of the fish.)
This will serve 4 people as part of a Japanese meal, with one or two other dishes besides rice and miso soup. It’s also great in a bento.
Shaoxing wine (called sho-ko-shu in Japan) is a rice wine from the Shaoxing province of China. It has a sweet flavor like mirin, but is more assertive. You can use mirin or a sweet sherry instead, or even just plain sake.
[Edit: added for clarification] The reason why you would use paper towels or cheesecloth between the fish and the miso marinade is that the marinade is rather too salty to leave on, so it needs to removed anyway. By wrapping the fish in a porous material before applying the marinade paste, you make removal of the paste easier. You can just scrape or even lightly wash off the marinade if you want to too. This, by the way, is fairly standard for many miso or sake lees (sake kasu) marinated recipes.
You can freeze the fish while wrapped in the marinade, but if you do so, defrost it slowly in the refrigerator, not in the microwave.
The marinade can’t be re-used, since it’s full of fish-juice!