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Dining Tip: Japanese-Style Black Cod with Viognier

The rich umami of this fish dish finds balance with a dry white with ripe fruit flavors
Black cod is a fish rich in fat that is almost impossible to overcook.
Photo by: Linda Xiao
Black cod is a fish rich in fat that is almost impossible to overcook.

Posted: August 13, 2018

Note: This recipe originally appeared in the May 31, 2018, issue of Wine Spectator, "Wine for Asian Flavors."

Recipe courtesy of chef Sean Massey of Morimoto Napa

Braised Black Cod with Ginger-Soy Glaze

• 2 cups junmai sake
• 6 thin slices fresh ginger
• 6 black cod (sablefish) fillets, skin on, 6 to 7 ounces each
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 1 cup soy sauce
• 1 1/2 teaspoons tamari
• 3 tablespoons mirin
• 2 tablespoons julienned scallion, for garnish
• 1 tablespoon julienned fresh ginger, for garnish
• At least 6 cups cooked white rice, for serving (from at least 2 cups raw rice)

1. Pour the sake into a large, deep skillet or flameproof casserole dish. Add the ginger and the fish, skin-side up. Cover and cook over high heat for 3 minutes. Add the sugar, reduce heat to medium, and cook, uncovered, 3 more minutes.

2. Pour the soy sauce and tamari over the fish. Raise heat to medium-high, and cook, covered, for 5 minutes. Keep an eye on the pan, as this mixture tends to foam and spill over too high a flame. Add the mirin and cook, uncovered, for 3 minutes more. Glaze the fillets by repeatedly spooning the thickening sauce over them while cooking.

3. With a slotted spatula, carefully transfer the fillets to a platter. Check the fish to make sure it has no residual bones hidden in it. (The bones are easier to remove after the fish is cooked.) If the cooking liquid has not already thickened to a light, syrupy consistency, raise heat to high and continue cooking until thickened, a few minutes more.

4. Place some steamed white rice on each serving plate. Top with a fillet and garnish with scallion and ginger. Drizzle with the ginger-soy cooking liquid. Serves 6.

Recommended wine pairings:
Penner-Ash Viognier Oregon 2016 (90, $30)
Darioush Viognier Napa Valley Signature 2016 (90, $44)
Yalumba Viognier Eden Valley 2016 (90, $20)
San Simeon Viognier Paso Robles Stefano Vineyard Estate Reserve 2016 (88, $20)


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