Miso marinating is a very traditional way of grilling, developed centuries ago. Nobu brought it to international attention with his ‘black cod with yuzu miso’. This is a more traditional version of the sauce, which you can use with any white fish, such as sea bass, sea bream, cod etc. I think it works particularly well with zander, which is a very under-used fish. It’s a river fish, common in eastern Europe, but also popular in France, where I first encountered it as an apprentice chef. It has a very smooth, flaky texture that works perfectly with this marinade, and also makes fantastic sashimi. There are two ways to cook this dish, one is the traditional way on skewers, but if that’s inconvenient, you can also grill it on a tray in the oven. This dish is nice with some pickles, such as daikon.
How to make Zander in Yuzu Miso (or sea bass)
Makes: For 4 people
Time to prepare: 30 minutes, plus 1 hour marinating
4 small fillets of zander (or sea bass or sea bream)
some pickled daikon to serve (see my recipe here)
25g white sugar
200g saikyo miso (or shiro miso)
40g yuzu juice
micro-plane or grater
1. Put the mirin and sake in a pan and bring it to the boil. Once boiling, hold a flame (such as a lighter or match) over the pan so it catches fire. Let the flames burn out. This is to burn off the alcohol. You can skip the flaming if you want, this just eliminates any bitterness from the alcohol. As saikyo miso is milder than other miso types, it helps keep the sweetness.
2. Turn the heat down to the minimum, add the sugar to the pan and whisk to dissolve.
3. Switch off the heat, and whisk in the miso. Then grate the zest of one lemon into it, and whisk in the yuzu juice. Pour the miso mix into a tray and leave it to cool down completely.
4. Once it has cooled, put the zander fillets into a tray, and rub the miso marinade all over on both sides. Make sure they are well coated. Put them in the fridge for 1 hour to marinate.
5. Preheat your oven grill to 180°C.
6. Once marinated, wipe off some of the excess sauce and put the fillets flat on a baking tray, skin side down.
7. Cook the fish for about 7 to 8 minutes in the oven grill. Check halfway through to make sure the sauce is caramelising and has a nice golden brown colour. If it starts to colour too much, lower the shelf in the oven.
8. Check the fish is cooked by poking it with a chopstick or fork, if the flesh is a nice white colour inside and flakes, then it's ready.
9. Serve with fresh lemon slices to squeeze over, and some pickled daikon on the side.