Vegetable Marinated Fish, Nobu Style

Previously, on tastingmenu.wordpress.com –
* https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2011/03/30/nobu-chilean-seabass-with-jalapeno-moro-miso/
* https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2011/09/16/chilean-seabass-with-miso-nobu-black-cod-with-miso/

I recently came across an online article that featured a new recipe from Nobu Matsuhisa. The article can be found here –  http://hk.dining.asiatatler.com/features/cooking-with-nobu

In the article, Nobu describes the recipe as:

…we use a lot of vegetables. But we don’t really use things like broccoli stems, carrot peels, the green part of the leek or the first leaf of the cabbage. Sometimes we use them for staff meals, but mostly we throw it out from habit. In my new dish, I take all these leftovers and we put in the food processor with fresh ginger, garlic, dried chilli and kombu; as well as seven to 10 percent miso-flavoured salt…

The dish currently appears on the menu (as of this writing) at his restaurants in NY (Nobu Next Door), Berkeley St, London, and San Diego (and will probably be at Nobu Caesar’s Palace Las Vegas). Apparently there is a online photo of this dish that can be found here:

http://www.lasvegassun.com/photos/galleries/2012/may/12/nobu-caesars-preview/402490/

Anyway, I was intrigued enough by the original article that while I was visiting my folks during the holidays that I food processed vegetable trimmings from 2 or 3 days with a little water. I ended up with about 2 lbs of ‘puree’. Among some of the trimmings that I had were broccoli stems, snow pea strings, outer portions of onion, outer leaves of nappa, kabocha, carrot and daikon peelings.  But the amount of the puree seemed a bit much, so I decided to use 1 lb of the ‘puree’.

Vegetable trimmings puree ready for the addition of the (jalapeno) chili pepper

Vegetable trimmings puree ready for the addition of the (jalapeno) chili pepper

to this I added: 2 tablespoons of salt and 4 1/2 teaspoons of Nobu dried red miso as well as 1 tablespoon of grated ginger and a 1/2 tablespoon of grated garlic.  I didn’t have any dried chili on hand, so I added a whole jalapeno to the puree (think jalapeno addition to the moro miso version). I’d forgotten to get kombu, but I placed 1 1/2 of chilean seabass (cut into quarters) into a large plastic ziploc back with the marinade for 3 days.  When time came to cook it,  I took out the fish from the marinade, wiped off the excess marinade from the surface of the fillet.  Looking at the fillet just before cooking, I noticed that it had discolored, much like the classic Nobu Black Cod Miso and the Nobu Jalapeno Moro Miso Chilean Sea Bass.  I roasted the marinated fish at 450 for about 15 minutes.

Chilean Seabass Yasai Zuke Nobu Style on sauteed cabbage and tofu

Chilean Seabass Yasai Zuke Nobu Style on sauteed cabbage and tofu

My wife helpfully volunteered to do a garlic cabbage and firm tofu sautee to accompany the marinated fish. Upon tasting the finished dish, we all agreed with Nobu’s observation that, “…it’s also got all the vegetable and umami flavours…“.  The vegetal flavors, the salt and miso were boldly present and had penetrated deeply into the chilean sea bass.  I’m going to definitely redo this dish again (remembering to add the konbu!) and maybe use skin-on, bone-in chicken  thighs as the protein component of the dish.  The only request I got about altering the dish was to perhaps lower the salt or miso amount a little bit.  The interesting thing about this dish is that everytime you make it, it’ll be slightly different each time because it depends upon what vegetable trimmings you have leftover from the course of a few days.  The next time I serve this dish, I’d serve it using a bed of butter lettuce, topped with sauteed mixed mushrooms and then finished with the vegetable marinated fish/chicken/etc (as described in http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2012/may/23/photos-nobu-excited-about-new-restaurant-first-hot/ ).

Update (2 Aug 2014) –

I just came across to an ‘official’ recipe for this item at http://www.four-magazine.com/articles/1034/a-recipe-fro and so the recipe looks like:

Ingredients

200g sea bass fillet (about 7 oz)

For the marinade

450g minced vegetables (carrot, onion, cabbage) (~15.8oz)
30g garlic (~1 oz garlic, probably grated)
15g red chilli (~1/2 oz – 1 tablespoon red chili flakes?)
30g sheet dried kombu (~1 oz)
20g salt (~.7 oz or ~4 1/4 tsps)
30ml soy sauce (~1 oz)

To serve

1 finely sliced red onion
Juice of 1 lime
Dash olive oil
Salt, to season

Method

Blend all the marinade ingredients together and marinate the piece of fish for 6-8 hours. Remove excess marinade and grill or oven bake for 10-15 minutes on a moderate heat. Garnish with finely sliced red onion dressed with a mixture of lime juice, olive oil and seasoning (the garnish sounds like red onion dressed in olive oil and yuzu juice)

Update (3 Sep 2014) –

So I remade this dish using the ‘official’ marinade recipe.  So here’s what the fish/marinade in a zip lock bag should look like:

2/3rds of a lb of chilean sea bass and vegetable marinade

2/3rds of a lb of chilean sea bass and vegetable marinade

I did food process DRY konbu with the other components; I expect it will soften during the marinating process and release its umami compounds.  Just before I started food processing the ingredients, I added 2 tablespoons of junmai daiginjo sake to help the breakdown of the vegetable components and help drive the marinade into the fish proteins. While the marinating process is 6-8 hours, I did this preparation tonight for cooking tomorrow night (about 24 hours later).

Update (5 Sep 2014) –

So I roasted the chilean seabass that I placed in the marinade Wed night.  Once I plated the fish, I finished it with a little soy salt.  The flavors were reminisant of the version I made previous to the ‘official’ version.  The only issue I had was that the marinade didn’t seem to penetrate as deeply as the three day version.

Roasted Chilean Seabass, Yasai Zuke

Roasted Chilean Seabass, Yasai Zuke

  If I do this again, I will definitely let the fish marinate for at least three days.

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