• Yield: 4 servings

This miso-based marinade produces spectacular results with fatty or oily fish such as salmon, sea bass, yellow tail, black cod, blue fish, and pompano. It cures the flesh slightly and permeates it with a delicate flavor. Grilling caramelizes and glazes the surface, leaving the flesh succulent. Plan to marinate the fish at least 12 hours before cooking. If you don't have sake, use a total of 1/2 cup mirin.

Note: Some fish options in this recipe may be unsustainable. Check Seafood Watch (Yellow Tail, Chilean Sea Bass) for information and alternatives.

For the Miso Glaze:

  • 1 cupsweet white miso paste

  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup mirin (Japanese rice wine)

  • 1/4 cup sake

The Fish:

  • Four 6-ounce fish steaks or fillets, such as salmon, sea bass, yellow tail, Chilean sea bass, black cod or blue fish

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

To make the glaze, combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Reduce heat to low and cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool.

Spread one-third of the glaze over the bottom of a glass baking dish just large enough to hold the fish in a single layer. Arrange the fish in the dish and spread the remaining glaze on top to coat them completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12, but no longer than 24 hours.

To cook the fish, prepare a fire in a grill or preheat the broiler. Scrape the glaze off the fish and discard. Pat the fish dry with paper towels and brush lightly with olive oil. Grill or broil 3 inches from the heat source 3 or 4 minutes. Turn and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until you feel no resistance when you insert a kitchen fork into the dish. Serve immediately.

You can prepare the glaze up to 2 months ahead and refrigerate it.

Red Miso Glaze for Red Meats and Chicken

You can transform the Miso Glaze, above, into a robust seasoning for well-marbled red meats such as beef, chicken legs and thighs, lamb and pork. As with fish, the glaze imparts subtly winey undertones and insures succulent flesh. Cooked over a barbeque or under a hot broiler, it will caramelize deliciously.

Make the Miso Glaze replacing 1/2 cup of the sweet white miso paste above with red (aka) miso. Instead of fish, use about 2 pounds of meat suitable for grilling or broiling and proceed as directed, adjusting the cooking time and heat as necessary.

Reprinted with permision from A New Way to Cook by Sally Schneider. © 2003, Artisan.

Sally Schneider
A former chef, Sally Schneider has won numerous awards—including four James Beard awards—for her books and magazine writing. She is creator of the lifestyle blog Improvised Life, a featured blogger on The Atlantic Monthly's Food Blog, and author of The Improvisational Cook and A New Way to Cook. She has served as a contributing editor to both Saveur and Food & Wine, and her work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Saveur, Food & Wine, SELF and Connoisseur.