Friday, September 19, 2008
miso cod and the triumphant return of the roast potato.
Growing up in Northern California, these things called seasons were more or less a mystery to me. Winter was marked by two weeks of rain; summer by the dry heat that would spring up to the mid-nineties before plummeting back down to the year-round evening average of 45. I didn't own a proper winter coat, and I certainly paid no attention to changes in the offerings in the produce section. The only seasonal markers I had with regards to food came around the holidays, when we would bake about a quarter of a million pounds of lebkuchen, my family's traditional Christmas sweet, and high summer, when my mother's tomato plants would leave us awash in bushels of the divine fruit (and the ants that loved it, and drove mom crazy).
Now that I live on the east coast, i try to take a little more pleasure in the change of the seasons. While i continue to blithely serve asparagus in October and make risotto in deepest July, I do make a bit more of an effort to be a bit more seasonally appropriate; with the first whiff of cool air, I happily trade in my fresh limas and heirloom tomatoes for parsnips and chard (though I will admit to a certain reticence when it comes to giving up my peaches). I also merrily resurrect that old rascal, the roast potato.
Last night marked its reappearance in my culinary bag of tricks; paired with miso-glazed cod and roasted (okay, more like incinerated, but that's how i like it) asparagus, it made a meal that was more than a match for the curious transitional weather we're experiencing here in Gotham City. I branched out a bit, using fingerling potatoes (blue and creamy red), to mixed results--though colorful, they lacked the waxy sweetness i was anticipating; however, the delicious, chewy and salty skins more than made up for it.
When planning this menu, I hemmed and hawed for a bit, wondering if the three components were too different to create a cohesive dish--after all, shouldn't i serve asian-style fish with rice? shouldn't the asparagus be steamed in this context? i thought about it for a solid two minutes before coming to the conclusion that has become my mantra where cookery is concerned: fuck it! If it tastes good, who the hell cares?
Words to live by, if ever.
1 slab of cod
2 tbsp red miso paste
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp sake
1 tsp brown sugar
drizzle sesame oil
drizzle soy sauce
Preheat your broiler.
Combine all the wet ingredients, plus the sugar. all the amounts are estimated--taste and tinker until you get the amounts you like. Place the cod in a zip-top bag, and pour the marinade over it; toss to coat evenly. Place the bag in a shallow dish and put it in the fridge for as long as you have time.
Place the fish under the broiler for approximately five minutes a side (take it out of the bag first, obvs)--excess glaze in the pan will probably start to scorch a little, which will rather perversely make your kitchen smell divine. delish!