Live from Alaska; a Guest Blogger puts his take on Alaskan Black Cod

I’m proud to introduce you all to Robert Blessing, an amazingly talented cook and blogger from Anchorage, Alaska.  We met a few years back, and I’ve always been an admirer of his hearty, unique culinary creations.  He uses the freshest ingredients he can find, and you know Alaska is the place to find them, especially when it comes to fish, a lot of which he catches himself! 

Robert is an extremely gifted cook, and was gracious enough to guest blog for me. Robert has two blogs where you can see his amazing dishes, step by step, and you can find them HERE and HERE.  Please check them out, especially the latter!  Now, without further adieu, here’s Robert showing us his Miso Marinated Alaskan Black Cod!  Just try to keep your salivary glands in check – I dare you!

For some time now I have been on the hunt for a reliable source of Black Cod. Even in Anchorage, Alaska it seems the stuff is like gold. Friends don’t share, stores never have the stuff, everything gets shipped to Japan, etc. Well that is a bunch of crap.  It became a mission.

In the words of GW “Mission Accomplished”. While looking around online for various farmer’s markets, I came across one that had a seafood vendor promising fresh black cod. Well I’ll be. So you know I was there bright and early. The market was not what you might expect. About 8-10 vendors in a parking lot selling their wares. But as promised, the seafood guy had the goods, black cod, scallops, side stripe shrimp, and of course halibut. At $14/lb it wasn’t cheap but he promised to have it through August.

So begins the recipe hunt. The only times that I have had the stuff before was at a couple of sushi places. On the menu they call it a grilled black cod appetizer. Looking online I found the Nobu recipe that seemed the closest to what I was looking for.

Miso Black Cod

  1. 1 cup sake
  2. 1/2 cup mirin
  3. 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  4. 2 cups white miso paste
  5. 3 cloves sliced garlic
  6. 2 sliced green onions

Bring your mirin and sake to a boil to burn off the alcohol. I tossed in the green onions and garlic to add more flavor. Turn off the heat. Now stir in your sugar so that it dissolves, then the miso paste. I used a whisk to break it up and get a uniform mixture. Set aside to cool.

A take on Nobu's Black Cod with Miso Glaze, plus Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli) with garlic, sesame oil and chili flakes! The most delicious cod dish around!A take on Nobu's Black Cod with Miso Glaze, plus Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli) with garlic, sesame oil and chili flakes! The most delicious cod dish around!

Put your fish into a ziploc and cover with the cooled marinade. Be sure to set aside about 1/2 cup to use as a sauce/glaze later on. Now the waiting begins. I vowed to let at least some of the fish marinade for a full 3 days. The recipe says this is best so I let some go the distance. I did experiment a bit after one day. Grilling up some to get a feel for the process.

Overcooking fish is a sin punishable with banishment from my kitchen. So on the grill I was very careful to keep an eye on things. The grill fought with me when it came to releasing the fish. It also didn’t give me the golden glaze that I had in my minds eye when visualizing this dish.

A take on Nobu's Black Cod with Miso Glaze, plus Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli) with garlic, sesame oil and chili flakes! The most delicious cod dish around!

So my experiment taught me several things. I would do the fully marinated fish under the broiler. Also that this fish needs to be fully cooked. Medium rare doesn’t fly. Trust me.

With the protein taken care of I got to prepping my sides. Calrose rice is always appropriate with fish like this. For a veggie I found some delicious looking Gai Lan. It is also known as Chinese broccoli. First cut the stems into sections. Basically just cut the thicker part of the stems away from the leaves and into bite size pieces. Blanch the thicker parts in salted boiling water for a minute and then add in the rest of the leaves. I let them go just until they turn bright green.

A take on Nobu's Black Cod with Miso Glaze, plus Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli) with garlic, sesame oil and chili flakes! The most delicious cod dish around!

These go right into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Start a bit of olive oil, just a dash of sesame oil, and some sliced garlic to sauteeing. I ended up adding a pinch of chile flakes as well. When the garlic just starts to turn golden, toss in your drained greens. I suggest even squeezing out as much water as possible. Sautee over high heat and then at the very end I seasoned with some ponzu sauce ( yuzu citrus flavored soy sauce ).

A take on Nobu's Black Cod with Miso Glaze, plus Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli) with garlic, sesame oil and chili flakes! The most delicious cod dish around!

Now for the fish. I heated up a cast iron skillet on the stove. I wiped it down with just a bit of olive oil and put the fish in to sear skin side down. The sugar in the marinade almost guarantees sticking so just be prepared. After a minute I put the skillet under a broiler on high. After another couple of minutes I brushed on some of the reserved marinade. Another couple of minutes and it should start to caramelize nicely. The flakes of the fish will actually start to separate. Don’t worry, this is normal.

Now to plate. Never have I claimed to be an artist when it comes to things like this. So simple is best, some rice, gai lan, and your fish. I did add a splash of the miso sauce and some daikon sprouts.

A take on Nobu's Black Cod with Miso Glaze, plus Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli) with garlic, sesame oil and chili flakes! The most delicious cod dish around!

Now tell me that isn’t the most beautiful piece of fish ever.

A take on Nobu's Black Cod with Miso Glaze, plus Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli) with garlic, sesame oil and chili flakes! The most delicious cod dish around!

That is what I had pictured when I decided to cook this dish. It is sweet, moist, and just a few crunchy bits from the glazing.

Thank you Lisa for giving me the opportunity to share a little of my food with your readers.

Caramelized Miso Black Cod
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
i]This delicious miso black cod marinates for 3 days, but trust me, it's more than worth it![/i]
If you can't find black cod, acceptable substitutes are Salmon, Halibut, and Arctic Char.
Marinade for Cod
  • 1 cup sake
  • ½ cup mirin
  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups white miso paste
  • 3 cloves sliced garlic
  • 2 sliced green onions
  • 6 six-ounce black cod fillets
Gai Lin (Chinese Broccoli)*
  • 1 bunch Gai Lin or broccolini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • chile flakes (add to your desired heat tolerance)
  1. Bring your mirin and sake to a boil to burn off the alcohol, about 30 seconds. Throw in the green onions and garlic. Turn the heat down to low and add the miso paste. Whisk until the miso has dissolved completely. Turn the heat up to high again and add the sugar, whisking constantly so the sugar doesn't burn on the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat once the sugar is fully dissolved. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Place the cod fillets in a zip lock bag and pour a little more than half the marinade over them. squishing the marinade around in the bag over the cod fillets to make sure they're all covered in marinade completely. Place the bag in the fridge on a large plate, and leave for 3 days, turning the bag over once a day. Store the remaining marinade in a covered container or dish, as you'll be using it to baste the cod, and cook down to serve with the cod.**
  3. After 3 days, when ready to cook the cod, remove it from the fridge and let it sit until it comes close to room temperature. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  4. Heat an ovenproof skillet over high heat on the stove top. VERY Lightly wipe off any excess miso marinade clinging to the fillets, but don't rinse it off. Drizzle the pan with a little oil, then place the cod fillets skin side up in the pan and cook until the bottom of the fish caramelizes and darkens in spots, about 3 minutes. Flip each fillet and continue cooking until the other side is browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Place pan in the preheated oven and bake for 5 to 10 minutes until fish is opaque and flakes easily, brushing each fillet with some of the remaining miso marinade at least twice (I brush on more marinade every minute plus until it's done, whether I use the oven to cook it or the broiler., see below.
  6. Alternatively, (instead of the oven) fully cook the cod fillets under the broiler for 10 to 12 minutes, brushing with more marinade 2 to 4 times.
  7. Boil the remaining miso marinade in a pot on the stove until it thickens via reduction. Serve with the cod and gai lin or broccolini (via Robert's instructions above) and rice.
* You can use regular broccoli if you cannot find gai lin or broccolini.
**The marinade can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.


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28 Responses to Live from Alaska; a Guest Blogger puts his take on Alaskan Black Cod

  1. Kim says:

    Well Robert, i have to say this is stunning. i have never seen black cod, but , yes, i AM salivating like crazy thinking of the flavors and textures of this dish.. excellent.
    Lisa, you are a gem for having him post on here 🙂

  2. Deb says:

    Robert and Lisa, I am so glad to see two of my favorite bloggers working together! Robert — it looks amazing, as usual!!!

  3. Elyse says:

    What a gorgeous dish! I love black cod. So delicious. Talk about a wonderful meal right there. Going to check out Robert’s blogs for sure!

  4. Becky says:


  5. Pueo says:

    Love this dish and looks like you hit it right on the head! I like that you got the glazing right, many times over I have seen this dish undercooked and although the flavor is there the appearance leaves alot to be desired – AND there is NO crispy texture which kind of flattens the dish…. The presentation is beautiful very well balanced and true to the base culture.

    Thanks Lisa for prompting him – there are many of us waiting to see what Robert will come up with next! Great collaboration =)

  6. Juliana says:

    Love the picture of the black cod…the miso marinated cod and the gai lan look terrific…yummie yummie. Love the miso flavor! Very nice done.

  7. Brett says:

    That fish looks fantastic! Great presentation. I’m a land lubber too, and even I want to tuck into it.

  8. Gabe says:

    Oh man, that looks good. I’ve had it at Nobu..and it looks just as good. Nice presentation too.

  9. Nanciful says:

    Looks delicious! I really like the chinese broccoli pairing! I made this a couple weeks before but just did a yuzu salad but I think I like the gai lan better!

  10. Rosa says:

    A fantastic dish! I love such recipes! Healthy, flavorful and mouthwatering!



  11. Jeffrey says:

    That looks like the tastiest piece of fish combined with the perfect vegetable I’ve seen in ages, well done Robert and yes… healthy, not too fatty 🙂 …. I’m one of your MS subscribers.

  12. Isabelle says:

    Magnificent! That crusty glaze is to die for!

  13. jonn from maine aka maiahsdad says:

    hey looks great….but all your food looks great…..

  14. girlichef says:

    Wow, this is stunning!Thanks for stopping by my blog…now I’ve found 2 new tasty blogs…yay! YUM.

  15. lisamichele says:

    Pueo, Deb and Kim – Thanks guys, I knew Robert would come up with something great.


    Thanks to everyone else who’s enjoyed and salivated over his cod. I’m extremely glad he was nice enough to share his cuisine with both of our readers!

  16. duodishes says:

    That fish looks oh so delicious! Both of them do really, but the crispy ponzu glaze calls us.

  17. Oh, this is a fabulous meal! I also love the ponzu sauce! I recently got some Alaskan black cod in my store and did a miso-honey marinade and really enjoyed it!

  18. Sophie says:

    What an excellent fish dish! delicious! I love it totally!
    Could you fly over to Brussels & make this for me & my husband?

  19. ingrid says:

    Okay, when will the waiter be by to take my order of today’s special! WOW, THAT IS the most glorious looking fish I’ve seen!

    I emailed you Lisa…..did you get it? I hope all is well. Drop me a line when you get a chance, please!

  20. Julie says:

    That definitely IS one beautiful piece of fish!

  21. ERALPESTE says:

    Nice job!

  22. Chou says:

    Lovely. I would like to eat dinner at your house.

  23. Gorgeous, gorgeous fish! I had to move to Anchorage from the Bush for two months when my daughter was born, but I never got to a fishermen’s market. My bad luck, because that last photo made me drool.

  24. Marta says:

    Great guest post! Thanks for the information, I knew little about black cod!

  25. Pia says:

    Hi, Lisa. I’m glad that Robert invited me over to join your group. I have been a fan of Robert for sometime now and he never cease to amaze me. This dish i’d say is another feather to his hat. Good job Robert! This is a definite must try!

  26. Pingback: Mystery Meat for Dinner =) « An Alaskan Cook's Exploration of Food and Technique

  27. Jamie says:

    I bought fresh sablefish from a fisherman at the farmer’s market and immediately looked for a fabulous recipe for it. After finding and reading your mouthwatering column, I shopped for the ingredients and marinated the fish overnight (36 hours). Oh my goodness…we just finished and my entire family of foodies (husband and teenage girls) was awestruck. I don’t think I have ever prepared anything so delicious for them. I can’t wait to share with friends. Thanks Robert and Happy New Year!

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