Café and Bar Lurcat in Naples, FL is a must try restaurant if you’re in the area. With its chic interior featuring dining on multi level floors and located in the heart of 5th ave, this place it prime for date nights. A night out here for cocktails or even for a quick sweet tooth fix with the ladies after shopping, you’re sure to be satisfied. I first indulged in this epic menu about 20 years ago, and its still just as amazing today. The Miso Sea Bass, was and still is the most delicately prepared and perfectly seasoned piece of fish I have ever eaten. I’ve done my best to recreate this as I’ve recently played around with the “Umami” flavors. Unfamiliar with umami, don’t worry, most people are. In fact the Urban Dictionary definition sums it up best “A bullshit invited flavor that TV chefs pretend to be able to recognize, but can never define” It’s earthy, savory, salty and creamy all in one… I think. I brought out the umami flavor for this glaze by combining saké and miso; two ingredients new to my cooking style but now welcome.
Saké is a Japanese alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice, that has been stripped of its bran and blended with the best quality of water. With selections in the thousands, it’s no wonder some people are as intimidated when ordering saké as they would be ordering wine. I’ve done some research on saké and have learned a thing or two. My biggest tip for you when ordering, ask for it unfiltered and cold. Sometimes the hot saké that’s brought to you in a restaurant is only heated to mask the unpleasant smell of the low quality drink they’ve just served you. Sounds awesome, right? Well then, I welcome you to read “A Beginners Guide to Sake”. I still use this as my go-to guide and it’s never failed me.
Again, similar to wine, don’t cook with any alcohol you wouldn’t enjoy drinking. I use this rule when incorporating saké into my dishes. Yes, I am and will continue to recommend drinking alcohol while cooking with it. For this recipe I chose to sip on and cook with “Haku rake sei Tokubetsu Junmai” by the Niizawa Brewerey, this can be found in Whole Foods Market. (Photo below via web)
I chose a white organic miso paste, which is a traditional Japanese seasoning consisting of fermented soybeans in salt. It is sweet and mellow flavor and adapts well with the saké. Many selections come readily available in your local market, especially the specialty stores. There are different miso selections as well such as white, yellow and red miso. Some are more heavily salted and spent a longer time in fermentation. I have tried a few and really like the “Miso Master” brand. (photo below via web)
I used 2 very thick cuts of Halibut. A Cod filet, or any white flakey fish will work just as good if you can’t find Halibut in your area. Remember when selecting any fresh fish to make sure it’s shiny in color and should smell like the ocean, not fishy.
- 2 (4 ounce) pieces of fresh halibut
- 1/3 cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
- 1/4 cup unfiltered saké
- 1/4 cup white miso paste
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 pound (4 small heads) baby bok choy, rinsed, cut into quarters, with core intact
Preparing the glaze:
Bring Mirin and Sake to a gentle boil over med-high heat. Keep the boil for about 20 seconds, then lower heat while adding the miso and sugar. Whisk together until sugar has dissolved and glaze has thickened, about 2 minutes.
Separate the glaze into two dishes. Cool both dishes to room temperature. When ready, it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Preparing the Halibut:
Drizzle olive oil on a baking sheet and smooth it over with a paper towel.
Rinse the fish under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
Place fish on baking sheet, season each side with salt and pepper. Brush liberally with glaze mixture and refrigerate for 20 minutes. This will let the glaze hold to the fish better.
Set oven to a high broil and lower the oven rack about 5 inches from flame. Place the fish in the oven and broil until the glaze has slightly charred and is fully caramelized. This takes about 3 minutes for a beautiful golden color. Switch the oven settings to bake at 400° and continue to cook for another 5-7 minutes or until fish easily flakes with a fork.
Preparing the Bok Choy:
Bok choy is notorious for trapping grit between its tightly packed stems. Baby bok choy is easier to clean than whole heads. Just halve them in full length, swish them in a few changes of water, and then spin them dry in a salad spinner. Using a new or clean brush and the 2nd dish of glaze, generously brush the glaze on the bok choy.
Preheat an indoor or outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Place the bok choy flat part down and grill for about 3 minutes each side or until soft.
How beautiful and perfect is this vegetable to pair with such a succulent piece of miso glazed halibut? Cheers!