When trying to think of what to make for a meal, I often turn to cookbooks. Not so much for the recipes themselves – I have a habit of not following those very closely – but for an idea, an inspiration of something that sounds good and fits the constraints of time, money, and interest. So it was that Thursday afternoon I was flipping through Martha Stewart’s Dinner at Home which Tawn had left out.
“Menu 8: Tofu and Scallions in Mushroom Broth; Miso-Glazed Fish Fillets; Seasame Brown Rice and Cabbage; and Caramelized Persimmons.”
Two words from that over-ambitious menu leapt off the page: Miso-Glazed.
The concept was simple enough: prepare a glaze made of just four ingredients: mirin (Japanese sweet rice cooking wine) or, not having that, sake; rice wine vinegar; miso paste; and sugar. I keep miso paste in the fridge because it lasts pretty much forever and is a handy flavor enhancer. Sake and rice wine vinegar are nice items to keep in the cupboard. And instead of sugar, some maple syrup would add a nice touch.
Salmon would have been a fantastic choice of fish, too, but Martha suggested black cod. I went with her suggestion, taking a single good sized fillet, placing it on a baking sheet. To make clean-up easy, I lined the baking sheet with some parchment paper and lightly oiled it so the fish wouldn’t stick. Brush a generous coating of miso glaze on the fish and then put it under the broiler for about 6-8 minute, or until the top is nicely browned and the fish is opaque throughout.
I served the fish on top of some mashed potatoes with a chopped salad on the side. I make my mashed potatoes with butter, an ingredient that some people like to demonize but I think a little butter will go a long way to making your potatoes nice. I also added some leftover sour cream and some chopped fresh rosemary to give it a tang and a nice piney aroma.
For dessert, an apple cobbler. I used pink lady apples, chopped small with the skin still on. Cooked them in a saucepan for a few minutes with a little bit of sugar, a little bit of water, a little bit of corn starch, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Cook until starting to soften and add a little more water if necessary in order to get a bit of a not-too-thick sauce with the apples.
Put the apples into an over-proof dish. I topped it with a homemade sweet biscuit dough, similar to what I use for shortcake. Flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and a little sugar. Cut in some vegetable shortning (Crisco) to the size of peas, and then add either buttermilk (or, if you don’t have that, milk) and stir just until combined. Put the dough on the top of the fruit leaving a few openings for steam to escape. I put a few slices of butter on top of that and sprinkled on some raw sugar for a nice visual. Bake in a 350 F oven for about 25 minutes or until the juices are bubbling and the crust is golden. Serve once cooled to room temperature with ice cream, whipped cream, or just a little pour of fresh cream. Key word here: cream.