Thursday, May 23, 2013

Fish out of water


It's been a flat out crazy couple of months for us here.
It all started back in early April with a few small itchy bumps on D's arm that led to the discovery that we somehow picked up a batch of bedbugs. If you've ever had bedbugs, you know what a horrible experience it is. If you haven't, consider yourself lucky and pray you never have to go through the experience of cleaning and scrubbing every thing you own, washing and drying every article of clothes and bedding, moving furniture and dealing with the chemical aftermath of a visit from the exterminators. We also ended up tossing our ancient mattress and box spring. It was a shitty experience made all the worse by our new landlord who blamed us for bringing the bugs in (though the discovery of the bugs coincided nicely with the move in of said new landlord and the gutting of the adjacent house, which had been home to some questionable hoarder types), withheld information about treatment, put off the treatment for more than a week, and generally acted like a total jerk throughout. Honestly, the bed bugs are more pleasant. That all carried over into regular landlord-tenant relations with her making a series of increasingly strict demands on us that culminated in us deciding we simply had to get out at any cost. So, after a long, stressful search for a new place (along with bed bugs, apartment hunting in Toronto is something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy) we found a rental condo on the lakeshore, close to the heart of the city. And in about four days, we're moving in.

I'm pretty excited. It's a small place, which has meant we've had to get rid of a lot of stuff, but a little household purge never hurt anyone. And it's a relatively new place, which is a novelty itself. The kitchen is small, but I can tell you that, by Toronto condo standards, it's practically professional sized in the sense that more than one person can stand in it at the same time. And it has a dishwasher, which make sit light years ahead of any kitchen I've had since we left Edmonton almost 6 years ago.

All told, we're excited to be putting a shitty experience behind us and looking forward to exploring neighbourhoods we haven't checked out before and spending the summer on our balcony, looking out over the water with wine glasses in hand.
Today's recipe is one I made back before this whole business hit the fan. It's the most recent installment in my efforts to try to cook and eat more fish, something which was made all the easier by the addition of a good fishmonger to the Roncesvalles area late last year. Del la Mer, along with Rowe Farms, the Film Buff, Cherry Bomb Coffee, The Ace restaurant, the Inter Steer pub, Barque and many more, are all big reasons why we've enjoyed living in the Roncesvalles area as much as we have. It's a damn shame it didn't work out, but maybe someday we'll be back, hopefully in better, less crazy circumstances.

As for the recipe itself, I probably didn't get enough of a char on the fish (you do want it good and black),  but it still came out moist and flavourful. I guess I'll have to give this another try in my new kitchen!

Nobu's Miso-Marinated Black Cod (Adapted from Nobu: The Cookbook via the Kitchn)
Serves 4

1/4 cup sake
1/4 cup mirin
4 tablespoons white miso paste
3 tablespoons sugar
4 black cod fillets, about 1/2 pound each

Two to three days beforehand, make the miso marinade and marinate the fish. Bring the sake and mirin to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Boil for 20 seconds to evaporate the alcohol. Turn the heat down to low, add the miso paste and whisk. When the miso has dissolved completely, turn the heat up to high again and add the sugar, whisking constantly to ensure that the sugar doesn't burn on the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat once the sugar is fully dissolved. Cool to room temperature.

Pat the black cod fillets thoroughly dry with paper towels. Slather the fish with the miso marinade and place in a non-reactive dish or bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Leave to marinate in refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.

To cook the fish: Preheat oven to 400°F. Preheat a grill or frying pan. Lightly wipe off any excess miso clinging to the fillets but don't rinse it off. Place the fish skin-side-up on the pan, and grill until the surface of the fish browns and blackens in spots, about 3 minutes. Flip and grill or broil until the other side is browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to the oven and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until fish is opaque and flakes easily.

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