FOODIE FRIDAY: MISO GLAZED FISH
I know what I am going to write about for a couple of days before I sit and put the thoughts down on the computer, and I made this for us a few days ago which allowed me to have photos already prepared. Only now as I sit to write have two thoughts struck me:
Number 1 being, ‘maybe there are a lot of people who don’t like fish’. If this is the case for you, that’s a real shame. I love fish, so I don’t understand this preference. Nor do I understand when guests ask me to cook “non-fishy fish”. (???) Aren’t all fish inherently fishy? If you are one of those people that don’t like fish, this miso glaze could also work on chicken, I think. However, instead of broiling, you would likely need to roast it then just broil at the end to give it the glaze.
Number 2 is that for hard-core paleo eaters, miso is off the table because it is made from soy. I view this as a cheat meal…I know, not exactly really radical CHEAT-wise, but for Tony and I, this is considered a cheat. (how funny) The reason why I haven’t felt bad about eating this particular miso is because it is an unpasteurized properly aged miso (fermented in the traditional manner). Fermented (probiotic) miso is rich in the isoflavones aglycones, genistein and daidzein.
There is a debate regarding the touted health benefits of non-fermented soy (as promoted by the USDA and Soy Protein Council). Soy finds its way into A LOT of processed food these days, such as baby formula, meat substitutes, drinks and snacks. Non-fermented soy products are also: edamame, tofu, soy milk, soy flour, etc. Here is an excerpt from Mercola.com as to why you may want to avoid unfermented soy:
Nonfermented soy products contain phytic acid, which contains anti-nutritive properties.
Phytic acid binds with certain nutrients, including iron, to inhibit their absorption. This is a direct, physical effect that takes place in the digestive system.
Did you get that? The phytic acid in the soy binds and prevents the absorption of some nutrients. So by eating the soy, you are not able to absorb some of the nutrients you are also eating. Great.
FERMENTED soy, on the other hand:
…fermentation stops the effect of phytic acid and increases the availability of isoflavones.
The fermentation also creates the probiotics—the “good” bacteria the body is absolutely dependent on, such as lactobacilli—that increase the quantity, availability, digestibility and assimilation of nutrients in the body…
What I have also learned is not all miso you buy at the store is created equal. You do not want to buy pasteurized miso because the process of pasteurization negates all the goodness from the probiotics in the natural aging/fermentation process. Here is the miso I bought:
Miso Glazed Fish
Fresh fish- I have done both wild caught salmon and cod in this recipe because I like to have the omegas from the salmon, while one of the crew members doesn’t like salmon (see fishy comment above). So I also prepared cod. When you buy fish, getting it fresh and cooking it is really the way to go. Flash frozen fish, while still of good quality, I find releases a lot of it’s moisture when you cook it so the end product isn’t as nice.
I also avoid farmed fish because the farming practices for salmon and tilapia are diabolical, in general, for the environment. If you don’t give two tosses about the environment, then you should perhaps also consider that a lot of farmed fish are EXTREMELY HIGH IN MERCURY due to the terrible feed a lot of them are raised with. The fish meal produced in China is very, very, very high in mercury. They feed it to the fish. Then they sequester the mercury in their flesh. Not good.
Note to self: if you are buying farmed fish, find out where their fish food is produced. It sort of defeats the purpose of eating fish all the time for your health if you are also filling yourself up with mercury. This is actually a real thing, by the way…we interviewed for a yacht job with an owner who had to stop eating fish altogether (he had been eating a lot of it for his health) only to find that he had an astronomical mercury load, and his insurance company wasn’t going to give him life insurance until he went through chelation therapy…So this is real. It is not a scare-tactic on my part.
For the Savannah people reading this: there is a guy at the Forsyth Farmers Market who sells tilapia that he raises without feeding them scary crap. His aquaponics system produces wonderful organic herbs AND fish. I have already grilled and vetted this guy, so if you really want that tilapia for cost reasons, or because you happen to love tilapia, then go buy it from him. He’s also really nice.
Back to the ingredients.
Fresh Fish. I usually estimate 6 to 8 oz per person for a decent meal. This glaze will do 3-5 lbs of fish nicely
2 TBSP fermented miso
2 TBSP raw honey
2 TBSP toasted sesame oil
2 TBSP mirin (rice cooking wine)
Preheat the oven to about 400 F. Arrange the oven shelves so that one is close to the broiling element at the top, but with enough clearance for your fish to not touch the element.
Whisk the miso, honey, oil and mirin together in a mixing bowl to combine.
Cut your fish into appropriate portion sizes if, like me, you get it as an entire filet.
Put the fish in the bowl of glaze and make sure all sides are coated with the mixture.
Line a baking sheet with foil and put the fish skin side down.
Now turn your oven to the broil setting. If you can choose a broil temperature, choose 400 F. If you don’t have a choice with your oven (most at-home ovens seem to broil at 500F) then move that upper shelf down a bit so that you have a little bit of distance between the fish and the element otherwise it’s like broiling your fish on the surface of the sun and the outside will blacken without the inside cooking.
Put your tray of fish in the oven and shut the door for 3 minutes. Then open the door to that first opening spot and have a look at your fish. Rotate the tray around (please use oven mitts here people) so that you get even cooking. All ovens have hot spots and this will be evident where some of the fish is turning golden brown and others are not. Try to get them to colour evenly. You want the fish surface to turn a brown caramel colour. When you have achieved this colour, pull the tray out and give a piece a little squeeze with your hands (if it is thick like my salmon) to make sure that it is cooked through. I happen to like my salmon slightly underdone so it is just turning opaque inside, but not dry. If you are doing a thin piece of fish like the cod pictured, or a filet of flounder or sole, for example, the fish will more than likely be fully cooked by the time you get the caramel colour on the top.
My cheat meal plate is glazed salmon, broccoli, sautéed shitakes with red peppers, some oven roasted cherry tomatoes and black bean noodles (gasp!). It was a good meal. I had leftover glazed cod the next day for breakfast, because I can. Like I said at the beginning, I think you could do this with chicken (skin on). Make the glaze, coat the chicken and roast skin side up until the meat is cooked through, then to achieve the colour, turn on the broiler and finish it there.
A really great idea would be to make the glaze in advance and to marinate the fish in this for a couple of hours before you intend to cook it…really let the flavours develop. It gives a great sweet-salty-smoky taste to the meat. This would be a nice recipe to make for guests at a dinner party. Make all your sides in advance and then just cook the fish last minute. There’s very little mess and clean-up is easy, just toss the foil after you have finished cooking! We really like this flavor profile…hope you give it a try!
Fair winds and following seas…