Italian Supper Club I: Here’s the very delicious Artichoke and Trofie Pasta Recipe; courtesy of my friend’s James’ Italian friend Giampiero ; Grazie and Mangiamo!
Ingredients: 2 Lemons 4 to 5 Artichokes (firm, tight, green, preferably Romanesco type)2 to 3 cloves of garlic, peeled 1 to 2 tsp Peperoncino (red chili pepper) flakes, 2 to 3 Anchovies (preserved in oil), 1-2 cups Warm Chicken soup stock (homemade or store-bought*), 1 cup dry white wine, 500 gr Trofie dry pasta, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino Romano cheese, 3 to 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, sea salt (for pasta cooking and seasoning).
*Vegetarian stock can replace chicken stock to make this dish vegetarian; chicken or vegetarian stock cubes can be used also. Anchovies are used to “season” the dish so adjust the salt accordingly (OO).
TIPS: This recipe serves 5 (100g pasta each as an appetizer); the usual size 500 g package of pasta is good for 5 to 6 people, depends on what is being used to go with it.
We used the same recipe, omit the pasta and turn the artichokes into antipasti; we just quartered the artichokes and serve it room temperature. The lemon water prevents oxidation; it also removed the somewhat “muddy” flavor of artichokes and add brightness to the dish. Trofie pasta is selected as the shape goes with the sliced artichokes.
Zest the two lemons and reserve the zest in a small bowl for later use.
Prepare a large bowl with cold water. Cut the two zested lemons in half and carefully squeeze the juice into the water being careful not to include the seeds. Drop in the seedless peels in as well. The lemon water is to prevent the artichokes to oxidize.
3. Using a paring knife, carefully clean and trim the artichokes, pulling away the dark and hard outer leaves. Cut off the end of the stem, slice away the darker green outer layer of the stem. Carefully pare away any remaining dark green layer between the peeled stem and the edge of the base. Cut off about 1/3 to a half of the pointy leaf ends. Be careful when paring and not to cut yourself.
4. Slice the trimmed artichoke in half lengthwise and then into quarters and carefully remove the hairy choke, pulling out any pointy interior leaves in the process. Drop the trimmed artichoke (carciofi in Italian) in the cold lemon water and repeat the process until completed. When all of the have been properly trimmed and quartered, take each quarter and slice thinly lengthwise, returning the sliced artichokes into the acidulated water immediately.
5. Put a large pot of salted water (sea salt) on to boil.
6. Warm the chicken / vegetarian stock in the sauce pan; keep it in low simmer (this step will be omitted if you are using chicken /vegetarian stock cube and those can be added directly into the pan for flavoring).
7. Using low heat, add 2 (to 3 TBS) olive oil to a large saute pan or wok (in Italy they have a large rounded pan with a handle called a Salta pasta); gently saute the garlic and peperoncino (red pepper flakes).
8. Add the drained artichoke slices and raise the heat to medium, Stir constantly (without breaking the artichokes). After 2 to 3 minutes, add the anchovies to the side of the pan, carefully mashing them so that they completely dissolve in the oil.
9. Add the warm soup stock a little at a time (when cooking always add warm stock to avoid temperature fluctuations) and stir in the white wine. The stock will add another level of flavor to the artichokes; let hte mixture simmer in low heat. The artichokes will absorb the liquid, you don’t want the sauce to be “watery”.
10. While sauce is simmering, throw the trofie pasta in to the boiling water and cook for at least one to two minutes less than indicated on the instructions. Do not Toss the pasta water!
11. Reduce the heat a bit lower (medium low) for the artichokes, cover and cook until the artichokes are almost tender. They should be al dente by the time the pasta is ready. Taste the artichokes and see if they need any salt, the anchovies should be enough for flavoring, otherwise add a little salt if needed.
12. Using a strainer or a spider to lift the al dente pasta out of the cooking water and toss into the pan with the artichokes. Add a ladle or two of the pasta cooking water (acqua di cottura), stir and fold gently to ensure the water mostly evaporates. The cooking water is what makes the sauce creamy!
13. Add a couple of handfuls of grated parmesan and pecorino cheese to the artichoke /pasta mix. Stir gently to integrate the cheese with pasta, then serve hot in individual bowls. Top each with some of the lemon zest, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and more of the grated cheese if desired. Mangiamo!
Follow mefor more recent updates; remember always adjust the seasoning and ingredients according to your own and loved ones’ dietary needs, and the most important ingredients, COOK with LOTS of LOVE and PATIENCE (OO).
One pot suppers season is back in full swing!!
If you have been following my Instagram accountyou probably notice my claypot has been making a few appearances in my feed since late September…
This month is all about Japanese comfort foods: Matsutake-Chanterelle mushroom rice, Japanese Oden stewand my take on the popular homestyle dish Niku-jaga, which literally means “Meat and potatoes” – I named my dish Cauli-Niku-Jaga (see picture above).
The cooking method for the “jaga” is exactly the same as the making of a regular Niku-jaga with a couple minor tweaks: barley fed pork belly slices were used instead of beef, the addition of two vegetable component : edamame beans and cauliflower florets were added (1-1 cauliflower-potato ratio and about 1 cup of beans); I have also changed things up a little with the meat stewing process. To soften meat I usually use orange juice, the usage of sugar to soften the texture of the meat is a more suitable and great tip from Chef Masa from Masa’s ABC Cooking.
Ingredients and Preparation (2-4 people): (Part of Recipe adapted from Masa’s ABC Cooking)
200 grams of thinly sliced pork belly (Sliced in half, marinade in 1 teaspoon of coconut palm sugar(*my preference only) and 1 Tablespoon of sake for 15 to 20 minutes, set aside)
Prepare all the vegetables: 1 onion (medium size, sliced), 4 potatoes (I’ve used medium size creamer potatoes (usually russets are used) – quartered, edges slightly”peeled”*to prevent breaking up while cooking, in Japanese the method is called “mentori”, then soaked in water for 10-15 minutes, drained), cauliflower (florets – about 1 1/2 cups (to your liking, chopped about same size as carrot), 2 medium carrot (peeled and chopped in rolling wedges, size slightly smaller than potatoes because it takes longer to cook), 1 package of shirataki noodles (blanched, rinsed and drained), 1 cup of edamame beans (frozen and shelled – blanched then shocked in cold water, drained and set aside)
Prepare the dashi stock (recipe in my archives or you can use water) – 700 to 800 ml (I usually make extra just in case I need more, it not available, just use water).
Measure the seasoning: 3-4 Tablespoons Tamari or organic low sodium soy sauce (*can be substituted with regular soy), 3-4 Tablespoons sake, 2 Tablespoons of Mirin, 1 Tablespoon coconut brown sugar (**can be substituted; this is my preference)
Cooking Process all in one:
Over medium high heat, use a large pan (a braiser would be excellent, I used a Japanese donabe) and add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil (something neutral of your choice – canola or grape seed oil), saute the pork slices until slightly browned, removed from pan and set aside.
Add slice onions and carrots, saute until they slightly browned.
Add potatoes to the pan, gently mix well with onion and carrots, then add the drained shirataki noodles, continue to saute, make sure the shirataki noodles do not lump together and do not mash the potatoes.
Add dashi stock to pan; make sure you have enough stock to cover all ingredients
Once it comes to a boil, turn the heat down to medium and skim off the scum. Add seasoning to pan, stir and mix well. Cover the lid and let ingredients cook for approximately 6 minutes.
Remove the lid then add pork slices, make sure the slices are evenly distributed, then sprinkle the cooked edamame beans. When meat is cooked, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Remove from heat and let it stand for while before serving, the ingredients will absorb the flavours!
***Note: This is the step which I have tweaked to keep the meat tender. You can watch his original video for his method and wonderful cooking tips (Masa ABC cooking on YouTube )
If you want a thicker sauce, you can turn up the heat and the sauce will reduce if you cook it a little longer.
For this dish the most difficult part would be balancing the sweetness and saltiness; just keep tweaking and you will find the balance to your liking, remember it also depends on what kind of sweetener you are using. Do not make it overly sweet!
My sources in Vancouver for ingredients: Nikuya Meats (for the pork slices, in Richmond BC), Sakura-ya (517 East Broadway, Vancouver, BC) and Whole Foods (various locations – for Delta’s Fraserland Farms Creamer potatoes).
You know Fall is here when matsutake mushroom (Japanese pine mushroom) becomes available; this year I changed things up a bit and added chanterelle mushrooms, and voila it really works. Remember back in August 2016I recommended Food Video Channel (in Mandarin Chinese) on YouTube (also on Wechat, Weibo) ? Well the chanterelle mushroom mix idea is also from one the videos I watched on that channel, apparently somewhere in Yunnan province chanterelle mushrooms are also available and they usually saute them together with Chinese ham.
It is very difficult to purchase high quality cured ham here in Vancouver; last Fall I experimented with Italian cured pork jowl “guanciale” and lay them underneath the rice, then topped with sliced (torn actually) matsutake (doused with little sake earlier) and the kombu (kelp from the dashi making). When rice is almost cooked (with approximately 10 minutes remaining), I used organic unsalted butter to saute the remaining mushrooms then add to the rice cooker and let everything finish cooking together. It worked beautifully and my family totally loved it.
This year I added the chanterelle mushrooms (thanks to a trip to Vancouver Farmer’s MarketI got the fresh chanterelle) to cook with everything else initially in the rice cooker, repeat the same organic butter saute finishing process. The chanterelle mushrooms were quite difficult to clean, however it added another depth of flavor to the rice and the results were beyond my own expectations.
Because the mushrooms are quite expensive, I use them sparingly. For 3 cups of rice (I used Haiga rice), I use approximately 1/2 to 1 lb of mushrooms (depends on budget, grade and availability).
I used the rice cooker for convenience because my Zojirushi has the “Mixed Rice” setting; the rice is also cooked in homemade dashi, with the standard soy sauce, mirin and sake seasoning (3-2-1 ratio which works very well – always adjust according to your own taste).
My “hybrid” version (that’s what my friend “mydoctorgreen”called it) tries to retain the nuance of the original concept, keeping things simple without over-seasoning, just adding another layer of flavor to enhance and showcase the star ingredient, the matsutake. The chanterelle also did not overpower and they co-existed together harmoniously.
Important notes: Remember the guanciale is a little salty so factor that in when tasting. The rice should be cleaned and soaked prior to cooking; because you are adding mushroom, reduce the water (my experience at least 1/4 less liquid) and the guanciale should be removed before serving. This mushroom rice simple recipe should work well with shimeji and maitake mushrooms also, be adventurous and experiment.
It tastes as good as it looks (OO).
My source for Matsutake mushroom in Vancouver: Fujiya Japanese Food Store on Clark Drive (East Vancouver).
Japanese Oden with Umeboshi flavoring – Recipe adapted from Masa’s ABC Cooking
My Japanese friends taught me how to make oden a long time ago without any specific recipe; just like any regular home cook/hobby chef, sometimes we just make something “on the fly” based on our existing knowledge. When I try to make a new dish, I like to research a few recipes, apply my own skills and tweak things to our tastes, hence the creation of “hybrid” food (like my cauli-niku-jaga).
I don’t get to make oden very often at home because my husband somehow must have experienced a childhood episode which may have scarred him for life, he finds the idea of having oden repulsive. Well that being said, I would cook it for myself when he happens to be away on business trips (Ha ><). The most recent creation happened a couple weekends ago when my friends came over for a gathering.
Recently I have been watching Chef Masa’s channel quite a lot; been busy comparing and tweaking my own recipes, learning new tips and applying new techniques. Changes are also made according to our preference and dietary needs! The more I study about cooking, the more I love it.
This is what I truly love to do during my down time at home.
I highly recommend you to watch his original video for wonderful cooking tips and methods.
This dish is really great for cold weather and the recipe is good for 2 people, be sure to try it out this winter!
Ingredients and Preparation for Soup base: 500 ml homemade dashi, 2 Tablespoons Sake, 1-2 Tablespoon Mirin (I used 2), 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon tamari (*my preference, use regular soy and don’t add too much because it will darken the soup), 1 teaspoon sugar (**I used coconut palm sugar) and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt.
Add all the above ingredients in this particular order to the claypot (Japanese donabe), taste and adjust accordingly.
Oden Ingredients and Preparation:
Japanese daikon radish (peeled skin, sliced approximately 4 cm thickness, then use small knife and smooth the edge of the daikon (Mentori method as mentioned and used for the potatoes in previous recipe) – mark an “X” cut in the middle (do not cut through completely), using medium heat, at radish slices to cold water, bring to boil and cook until soften. While daikon is cooking, prepare the other ingredients. Check on the daikon periodically, when cooked through and softened, remove from pot gently and set aside.
Enoki Mushroom: 1 small package, ends cut, set aside.
Napa Cabbage : a small one would do, washed, sliced to bite size, blanched, drained. Lightly squeeze excess water when napa is cool enough to handle.
Japanese firm tofu (approximately half a box, 200 g – slice into squares. Using medium heat, brush the pan lightly with vegetable oil, sear and brown all sides of the tofu lightly. It is easier to handle by using a small pair of tongs.
Japanese konjac (konnyaku): 1 small package, cut into square pieces (approximately 2 cm thick), lightly scored both sides (think Cuttlefish Chinese way, the konjac will absorb the flavor). Then sliced into triangular pieces. Parboil konjac in hot water to get rid of the “fishy” taste, set aside.
Kombu (kelp): The cooked kelp from the dashi making can be added to the oden. Rinse and lightly scrub off the “sliminess” without breaking the kelp, cut into trips and tie into a bow shape.
Chikuwa (tube like fish cake purchased at Japanese food store) stuffed with asparagus: 2 pieces of chikuwa and 2 -4 stalks of asparagus (ends trimmed, blanched, shocked in ice (to keep color) and stuff inside chikuwa. If the asparagus stalks are really thin, you may need two for each chikuwa). Slice each chikuwa into 3 pieces, place 3 pieces of chikuwa on each skewer.
Eggs (2 large eggs) – boiled and peeled, set aside.
Lay all ingredients nicely and get ready to cook in the donabe which you have used to prepare the soup base earlier.
Using medium low heat, keep the soup base in a simmer and add 2 umeboshi (store bought pickled plums – removed the seed); put the napa cabbage, daikon, cooked egg, konjac, tofu and kombu in this order. Turn up to medium high heat, cover with lid and cook the ingredients for approximately 4-5 minutes.
Remove the lid (be careful as it will be very hot!), check the ingredients and if necessary, cover again and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove the lid (again be careful) and gently add the chikuwa skewers and enoki mushrooms. cover again and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
The Delicious oden should be ready…once you open the lid, steam will come through and you will see a nice bubbling action; hear a “bub bub bub bub bub” bubbling sound…and smell a whiff of the pickled plums flavor….
**My Verdict: Chef Masa‘s idea of adding umeboshi to the soup base adds freshness and slight “tartness” which my friends and I enjoyed immensely. This is such a wonderful idea which I am trying to work into other recipes. Thank you Chef Masa for all your cooking tips!
In the video he made Japanese napa cabbage rolls; I didn’t want any meat in this dish so I did not replicate the recipe. The cooking time will definitely be slightly longer if you include the cabbage rolls. Other fish cakes (can be purchased at Japanese deli) and Mochi bags (kinchaku – mochi stuffed in fried tofu skin) are great oden ingredients. I avoid eating processed foods so I may skip the chikuwa next time.
I have a bigger size donabe so I was able to cook more ingredients at the same time, and I prepared more dashi.
**Potatoes and Daikon have sharp edges which need to be removed before cooking, otherwise when the pieces cook together in the pot, they will start rubbing and it will cause breakage. The method is called “mentori”.
My sources in Vancouver: Fujiya (Japanese food store on Clark Drive in East Vancouver), Sakura-ya (East Broadway and Fraser in East Vancouver).
Deconstructed Afternoon Tea at Wild Sweets: “an affair to remember”
I revisited Wild Sweets with my dear foodie friends one Sunday afternoon for their “Cocoa Bean to Chocolate Afternoon Tea”, their 13-course afternoon tea is a very unique and “hands on” affair. All courses came “deconstructed” with detailed explanation presented by Mr. Dominique, each item includes a cocoa bean to chocolate element, all served with a chocolate tea infusion. Their take on this old tradition is very refreshing and modern filled with wonderful surprises, I felt I was taken “back in time” to secondary school days experimenting in the science lab. We had the most wonderful 2 hours assembling and styling the delicate treats, it is definitely an “affair” to remember.
Thank you very much to Dominique and Cindy and their staff for this wonderful learning experience!
Booking for this event is available online through their website:
My dear friend James now resides in Casperia, Italy and comes back to Canada to visit his family twice a year. Whenever he is in town, we always get together to cook an Epic Italian Dinner at my home. We always have the best time preparing all the dishes together for our friends, I hope in the near future someday I will be cooking with James, a truly wonderful teacher, in Italy..
James always introduce a tasty and authentic Italian element to our dinners: I rarely use already processed sauce or paste, however I am willing to make an exception for James! And here comes “Nduja”: a spicy cured pork salumi spread originally from Calabria, Italy.
When using nduja, a little goes a long way, the smell and taste reminded me a little of chorizo sausage (without the distinctive smell). We used it as the base for the sauce, cooked together with a little olive oil, white wine and minced garlic; then we steamed the clams in the sauce, finished off with grated lemon zest. Toss in “al dente” spaghetti (nduja is already salty so be light handed with salt when boiling pasta) and Voila! The flavors melted together and lifted the pasta dish to a different level, and the sauce tasted even better on the next day.
James was such a sweetie and got rid of all the clam shells!
The bottled version is available at Bianca Maria, a quaint Italian food store on East Hastings; the sausage version is available at Oyama Sausage in Granville Island; give it a try and tell me which version do you like better?
Always cook with love and thoughtfulness, and eat with your love ones (quote Peter Ciuffa “pastaboy”)
Beautiful sea bass from Brian’s wonderful Seafood City at Granville Island, nduja sausage from Oyama Sauage and Co., romano beans from Granville Island Market.
I checked out the sweet and rustic Baker and Table bakery cafe at East 48th Avenue and Fraser, it was wonderful to meet the owner Ms. Hitomi who provided really wonderful and friendly service.
I really enjoyed the organic chicken with cashew pesto sandwich and the cheesecake for dessert; I also purchased the tasty white bread (whipping cream incorporated) which was “pillowy” soft, I used to make thick toast at home for breakfast. She does accept special cake orders, I returned the next day and purchased a delicious strawberry shortcake and enjoyed it with my friends on our Epic Italian Dinner Gathering. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook for menu information and updates.
Baci Baci Kissa Tanto in Chinatown: Memorable Dinner and Superb Service
One rainy Thursday night after a long and hectic day at work, we decided to head to Chinatown and got in to Kissa Tanto (it was around 8 pm) without any reservations!
The experience left us speechless: the dishes (our favorite was the lasagna of the day (picture shown) were filled with interesting elements of Japanese and Italian flavors, a combination which I personally enjoyed a lot.
The service (I believe our server’s name name is Celina) was very attentive and superb. Love their retro decor and ambiance: Kissa Tanto, thank you for a memorable dining experience.
As the holiday season is quickly approaching, we all tend to shift our already busy schedules into complete overdrive.
I yearn for slower pace to rest, and crave comfort foods and quiet times to reflect.
This November I stay put at home in Vancouver, taking my time to try new recipes, going around my favourite city to see what it has to offer.
Follow me on Instagram (@mygoldenapron) for updates (OO) ; tune in on November 30th 1030am sharp on Fairchild 1470 Ms. Deborah Moore’s program, we will be chatting about food and much more…
Official store opening: Ai and Om: Thank you very much!
At the end of October I was invited to the official grand opening of “Ai and Om”, the amazing artisan knife store located in Vancouver Chinatown, a big thank you to Chef and owner Douglas Chan and Ms. Katharine Manson for the invite! After I talked about my “beloved” nakiri knife on the radio show, I have received emails inquiring about their products and sharpening services/classes, please contact them directly at email@example.com, or better yet, pay them a visit (129 East Pender Street, Vancouver, BC).
Chef Sato’s humble restaurant has been operating in Richmond for 5 years, hidden at the corner of Sexmith Road and Bridgeport (very close to Costco). It is a very small operation (limited seating and the two times I went he’s the only one working) so the wait could be long but worthwhile to try this delicate, clean and flavorful broth, which is very different from all other choices available in Vancouver. I had the spicy clam ramen (he calls it “larmen”) which came in the right hot temperature, perfect for a cold winter day. There is also a limited supply: 20 bowls for lunch and dinner every day. Save room for the gyoza; my hubby had the katsu curry (fried pork chop with Japanese curry) and it was very tasty also. Chef Sato is very serious about his craft, he talked about it so passionately and it clearly shows in his food. Bravo for his dedication, as a home cook, I am inspired to work harder to hone my skills.
Shibuyatei: 2971 Sexsmith Road, Richmond, BC (corner of Sexsmith and Bridgeport Road, parking on the street).
Japanese inspired Vegetarian cafe: Workshop Vegetarian
Pictures of this quaint cafe are popping up on Instagram constantly, I had to drive out to North Vancouver (296 Pemberton Avenue (at Marine Drive) to see what it is all about ! Their motto is serving healthy vegetarian dishes, with vegan options available. We shared three things from their menu: the smashed avocado toast on their house baked organic natural yeast bread, organic “nama” shoyu ramen and the Kyoto style udon: My favourite is the toast, the noodle soups are very clean tasting and flavorful, I didn’t have room to try their baked goods so we will go back for another visit sometime!
Pizzette Lunch at Famoso Neopolitan Pizzeria on Commercial Drive
Once in a while I do love to have pizza our favourite is Zachary’s at Oak and 16th); we have walked by Famoso (1380 Commercial Drive (at Kitchener))many times and it is always very busy! Finally last Saturday we got in for lunch. I had absolutely no idea this is actually a chain across Canada (I always root for the independents) and I was pleasantly surprised! My hubby and I both ordered our own pizzette (7 inch small pizza) lunch which comes with either soup or salad, and I added a tomato bisque, cold rainy day calls for soup! I love thin crusted pizzas which is not too heavily loaded, theirs is just perfect to my liking; and the tomato soup, served with a spoonful of ricotta cheese was rustic and hearty. Service was upbeat and friendly, we now know another good place in one of our favourite neighbourhoods.
Comfort Foods at Home: Old recipes and new experiment (recipes coming soon: vegetarian friendly)
Cooking and Resting Lots at home…
My sources in Vancouver: Seafood City (Granville Island), Artisan Sake Maker at Granville Island (Osake), Vancouver Farmers Market (now Winter Market at Nat bailey is on), Fujiya Japanese food store (Clark Drive), Vancouver Island Salt Company (sea salt available at various locations), Bread Affair (bakery at Granville Island, also available at grocery stores).
Japanese Corn Potage: this no dairy recipe is still one of my favourites (recipe published March 2014 – check the archives) to make once in a while.
New experiment: Roasted Butternut squash miso soup with shimeji mushroom and napa cabbage udon (new recipe coming) – it takes a little time but worthwhile! I used the turkey carcass to make the base stock (bonito flake/kombu dashi or just kombu dashi (for vegetarians) work just as well), roasted the butternut squash, sauteed the onions, added to stock and pureed to make the soup. Add little olive oil and the red miso paste to soup pot, add and sauteed shimeji mushrooms and cabbage, then add soup to pot. Udon cooked separately and put in bowls, ladle soup to serve, garnish with green onions.
When Japanese meets Italian: Roasted asparagus soup with homemade anchovy croutons and there is no dairy? A couple spoonful of Japanese rice (other than potato) will do the trick and give the creaminess which we all love. Inspiration came from recipe by Joy Manning on Food and Wine and Basho Cafe (another of my favourite in Vancouver); I made this vegetarian (kombu based dashi) except the croutons which I used anchovies as flavouring (sourdough bread seasoned with seasalt, olive oil), this pureed soup is creamy in texture yet light, perfect for light supper or lunch.
Last but not least…..Snapper Hot Pot Rice: snapper bones used to make stock (roasted bones, daikon, green onion, sake kasu, bonito flake/kombu dashi, small pork shank – at least 1 1/2 hours) then strained set aside, fish filet (by the fishmonger, my favourite Seafood City) and pin bones removed (I did myself at home), Japanese Haiga rice used for this dish, cleaned and soaked for 30 minutes prior to cooking. Seasoning (shiro shoyu/mirin/sake 3/2/1 ratio) added to rice in nabe and stir evenly, I added enoki mushroom (one thin layer) then the kombu (from stock making), slices of lemon), medium heat to cook rice stove top. Around the 9 minute mark, check the liquid (make sure it’s not all dried out) and add the fish filet on top, and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes until it’s done, the fish will remain very moist and tender. Remove from heat, remove kombu, lemon slices, flake the fish and serve with mitsuba (Japanese parsley), grated lemon zest and a touch of sansho (Japanese ground pepper), and a drizzle of homemade ponzu (dashi/soy/sake/mirin and lemon juice).
A simple marinade recipe for sable fish (black cod); sake kasu is the “lees” that remain after the fermented rice mash has been processed during the sake making process. It is a natural flavor enhancer for meats, fish and soups, available at Japanese food stores (see sources below).
Ingredients (enough for 4 servings (almost two pounds) of black cod (each fillet 1 inch in thickness) : 1/2 cup of sake kasu (sake lees – you can find it available at Japanese food store in the refrigerated section*), 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup mirin, 1 to 2 Tablespoons coconut brown sugar (my preference), 2 Table organic white miso paste, sea salt for seasoning
Using paper towel, pat the fish dry completely.
In a large mixing bowl, combine sake kasu, miso, water, mirin and sugar, slowly whisk and blend until the mixture is smooth.
Fill a large zip lock bag with the marinade, carefully place the fish and make sure they are completely covered with marinade. Put the bag and lay it flat on a prep tray (I used stainless prep trays, available at Japanese stores). Seal and refrigerate for 1 (minimum) to 2 days.
When you are ready to cook the fish:
Preheat the broiler.
Remove sable fish from marinade, using paper towel, carefully wipe the fillets dry without breaking them. Do not rinse with water!
Lined a rimmed baking sheet with aluminium foil
Place the fish skin side down, lightly season with sea salt
Broil until the surface is nicely browned and fish begins to flake, about 5 minutes. Keep an eye closely and make sure you don’t burn the fish!
Turn the fish gently to brown the skin, 2 to 3 minutes.
To test if the fish is done, I used Japanese metal chopsticks (thin skewers will do) to poke the fish gently. If it slides in smoothly, it’s done.
Remove the bones before serving.
***Instead of broiling, I baked the sable fish (parchment paper lined rimmed baking tray) at 400 degrees, it took 10- 12 minutes to cook through. Sear the fish first if you want the “browning” effect.
FYI: I served the cod with a shiitake and shimeji mushroom dashi “jus” with sea asparagus and Shanghai bok choy, seaweed flakes and green onion (recipe will be posted at later date).
*Osake Artisan Sake Makersake kasu, available directly from their store in Granville Island (Vancouver) or online, It is also available at Fujiya (912 Clark Drive, Vancouver, BC)
For sea salt: I met the wonderful team from Vancouver Island Salt Company a couple of months ago through Dinner Party YVR; my personal favourite is their smoked sea salt. Their products are available at finer food stores, check out their website, eat and shop local!
For sable fish: My go to place in Granville Island, Seafood City; owner Brian and his crew will take good care of you! They carry condiments also which go well with seafood; I got a bottle of Jonny Hetherington’s Habanero pineapple hot sauce which I used for my spicy sweet and sour sauce, something very tasty to try and “think outside of the box”.