Dave Watts' ingenious miso-marinated cod recipe is a feast of Japanese flavours, with mirin, sake, kombu and bonito flakes complementing heavenly black cod. The more unusual ingredients can be found in a Japanese supermarket or online.
Dave Watts may have come to cooking relatively late (at the age of 21), but he has more than made up for his slow start – winning Good Food Guide’s Chef to Watch accolade in 2013 and impressing at the stove of The Star Inn.
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Begin by preparing the marinade. Place all of the ingredients (apart from the cod fillets) in a blender and blitz until combined
200g of miso paste
40g of rice wine vinegar
75g of mirin
40g of sake
75g of light soy sauce
Place the fillets in a suitable container so they are close together but not squashed, then pour over the marinade to submerge. Alternatively, place the fillets in a suitable resealable bag with the marinade and squeeze out as much air as possible. Leave to marinate in the fridge for 12 hours
4 black cod fillets, pin-boned with skin left on
For the green tea broth, place the water and kombu in a pan and bring to the boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat and set aside to steep for 5 minutes
1000ml of water, cold
40g of kombu, chopped and rinsed
Place the green tea leaves and bonito flakes or dashi powder in a large pan and pass the kombu stock through a fine chinois into the pan. Bring to the boil, then immediately remove from the heat. Allow to steep for 5 minutes, then pass through a fine chinois, taste and set aside until ready to serve
6g of green tea leaves
30g of bonito flakes, or 7g of dashi powder
To cook the cod, preheat the grill to the highest setting and adjust the oven tray to sit 10-12cm below the grill
Remove the cod from the marinade and let any excess drip off, but do not wipe it away. Place the fillets skin-side up on a tray lined with parchment paper and place under the grill
Grill for 5-6 minutes for a thick piece of cod and 1-2 minutes less for smaller portions. Leave to rest for a few minutes and allow the residual heat to finish the cooking process
Blanch the soba noodles in salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes, then refresh in iced water
160g of soba noodles
Meanwhile, prepare the Chinese greens. Remove and discard a small amount of the base from the pak choi and separate all of the leaves. Cut the leaves into thin and thick strips, leaving some intact for presentation
4 pak choi
Cut the Chinese leaf leaves into thin and thick strips of a similar size and cook all of the vegetables in salted boiling water for 5-10 seconds so they retain a good crunch. Strain and toss in a dash of sesame oil and season with salt to taste
1 head of Chinese leaf, 4 large leaves only
1 dash of sesame oil
Reheat the soba noodles in the green tea broth for 1 minute, then arrange onto plates with the cod and vegetables. Spoon over the broth and serve immediately
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