While I enjoy the savory-sweet flavors of うな丼 (unadon) or grilled freshwater eel brushed with かば焼き (kabayaki), that addicting sweet soy sauce-based glaze, eel is off the menu for us. It’s really being overfished cuz young eels at the glass eel stage are caught in the wild thus breaking their spawning cycle. The farming process is also problematic as it can promote disease and parasites in wild eel populations (I know, strange) as well as placing a big drain on wild fish populations (1 farmed eel will eat two times its weight in fish!). Luckily for me while I love the taste of 鰻 (unagi) I don’t really have to deprive myself cuz kabayaki sauce tastes amazing glazed over broiled black cod. Buttery, unctuous, delectable black cod that you’d sell your left kidney for but since it’s readily available never frozen from my local fishmonger (usually sans appendages) and is caught in a sustainable manner my guilty conscience only has to focus on my waistline cuz all those delicious rich omega-3 fatty acids will be taking care of my heart, joints and brain 🙂 Hmm, I feel like I should carting my 90 lb “Toto” in a wheelbarrow cuz there’s no way he’s fitting in a basket …. Anyhoo, this is a quick (under 30 minutes!) ridiculously easy dish with a great wow factor that’s sure to impress your guests or even just your own palate.
1/4 c light soy sauce (I like Yamasa)
1/4 c mirin
1/4 c sugar
2 4-oz black cod fillets, pin bones removed **If you can’t find black cod, substitute any firm fleshed fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, halibut, or snapper
In a small saucepan combine soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. Briskly simmer over med-hi heat till volume is reduced in half ~7-8 minutes. Remove from heat and cool ~10 minutes.
Broil cod skin side up in a baking pan on the second highest oven rack till skin is golden and crispy ~5-7 minutes for a 2-inch thick fillet like the ones I used. Flip over skin side down and brush flesh on all sides generously with kabayaki sauce. Re-apply when sauce starts to bubble ~2 minutes. The cod is done when a sharp knife goes through the flesh with no resistance ~4-5 minutes total from initial application of sauce. I like to apply one last layer of glaze after I take the cod out of the oven. [slurp!]
Serve with the veggie of your choice (ours was grilled asparagus cuz they’re still gorgeous at this time of year) and steamed rice. Makes 2 servings.
**Nutritional estimate: if served with 1 1/2 c steamed rice, 1 serving contains 698 calories, 18.6 g fat, 57 mg cholesterol, 743 mg sodium (if using ~2 tbsp kabayaki sauce), 80.6 g carbohydrates (if using ~2 tbsp kabayaki sauce), 73% of the RDA for vitamin A, 3% iron and 2% calcium