Here’s a great recipe from a sushi despot down in LA. He’s a guy that kicks out customers for violating Japanese customs like asking for miso soup before entrees, pouring soy sauce over sushi, and ordering California rolls. His justification is that you would never go to a three-star French restaurant and ask for ketchup, so you shouldn’t trample on Japanese culture and its proud culinary history either. Asking a sushi chef who has decades of training for a roll with cheese in it is the American equivalent to showing up to Thanksgiving dinner with pizza. Someone in Japan would fight you for that faux pas.
Actually, his philosophy has given me a lot of motivation to learn to pack sushi in the correct manner. Here’s a brief list of ways that you know a sushi restaurant is low class and probably not Japanese:
-rolls are offered with mayonnaise or spicy sauce (to cover up the taste of bad fish)
-the restaurant lets you pour your own soy sauce (all the food is bad, sushi despots dole out soy sauce by the drop)
-you ask for extra rice (you should be eating fish, good chefs are at the docks at 5 AM examining purchases)
-the sushi does not have wasabi in it (the chef doesn’t know what he’s doing)
-the rice falls apart when you pick up the sushi (the chef is just a monkey who copies what sushi looks like but doesn’t know how to actually pack it)
Anyways, the recipe is magnificent. This recipe makes the fish perfectly cooked and the miso sauce is heavenly. This was one of the best dishes I’ve ever cooked.
Yield: about 1 cup
1/4 cup sake
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon S&B hot-mustard powder or other mustard powder
1 cup fine white miso paste, also known as shiro miso
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (not seasoned)
A drop of yuzu (a Japanese citrus fruit) or lemon juice
A drop of toasted sesame oil
* Bring the sake to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil for 20 seconds to evaporate the alcohol. Set aside to let cool.
* Transfer about a tablespoon of the sake into a small bowl and mix in the mustard powder until dissolved; return to the pot. Add the miso, sugar, vinegar, yuzu or lemon juice, and sesame oil and whisk until smooth and well-combined.
Oven-Roasted Salmon With Miso Sauce
4 (6 ounce, 1-inch thick) skinless, boneless salmon (or other thick white fish such as halibut) fillets
6 to 8 tablespoons miso sauce
* Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.
* Pat fish dry. Generously slather fish all over with miso sauce. Arrange fish in a single layer, skin side down, on the prepared sheet pan. Roast until fish is just slightly undercooked in the center, 6 to 7 minutes.
* Preheat broiler and broil fish 4 inches from the heating source, until the sauce on the fish is lightly golden and fish is just opaque in the center, about another 2 minutes. Transfer fish to 4 plates and serve immediately.