All fish are bought with good intentions.
One fine morning, a long, long time ago, I bought two fillets of steelhead trout.
I cherish those weekdays when I am lucky enough to insert at least half an hour of my grocery shopping among other work errands. It means that I will be able to go see what fish are available that day -- and it means that we will be having a seafood meal that night.
At least that is how the story goes in my head.
How the story goes outside my head is another story. ;)
On some days, no particular fish strike my fancy. On those days when I have to have some seafood, my go-to fish is always steelhead trout. It's usually available, it's not expensive, and the freshness and quality of the fish on sale are often good.
On some days, the plot further loses its momentum. The main characters lose their way, becoming too tired or too lazy to cook that night. The main characters would be us, by the way. The fish that have been bought with the best of intentions end up sitting in the fridge that night.
And on to the next night.
After the 2nd night, I usually start to panic. If there's anything I'm scared of, it's fishy fish. I dread opening up the bag or the tray (because being too lazy, we usually do not store fish the proper way, putting it on ice) and being assaulted by the smell of fishy fish.
I dreaded opening that tray of steelhead trout.
I gathered up my courage and finally ripped the plastic off of the tray.
Hm, so far so good.
I smelled the fish. It did not have "absolute freshness". On the scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the absolute, these fillets of trout rate about a 6.5. Not a very high rating but serviceable.
Oh well. It was my fault for letting the fish languish two days in the fridge, so I couldn't really blame anybody. I couldn't start chastising myself either so the best thing to do is to deal with my 6.5 fish.
I started going through our cooking options for 6.5 fish when in the corner of my eye, I espied a package of something.
Enter my hero, MISO PASTE.
How fortuitous that we have some miso paste sitting in the fridge! See, laziness builds upon laziness, like standing on the shoulders of giants or something to that effect. The miso paste was supposedly for some miso soup that we never got around to doing.
No miso soup for us, but yes miso marinade for our trout.
I started by mixing some miso paste with some whole grain and dijon mustards, adding some honey and rice vinegar along the way. A few drops of sesame oil and I have made a miso-mustard marinade for my 6.5 out of 10 steelhead trout fillets.
I slathered on the miso marinade on the fish, covered the fish with some parchment paper, weighed them down with a Pyrex tray, and put them back in the fridge for 2 to 4 hours.
Thirty minutes before dinner time, I got my fish out of the fridge and took away the parchment paper. The miso marinade has sunk into the fish and -- lo and behold! -- the fish now smells as fresh as the day it was caught!
From a 6.5, these babies are now a 10!
Cooking & Glazing Trout
I baked the fillets in the oven, 450F for about 20-25 minutes, and then prepared a glaze for the fish containing a bit of soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, mustard, and a few drops of sesame oil. I added more honey because I wanted it to be sweetish glaze and I wanted to get more caramelization on the fish.
To celebrate the fish's "rise" to the top of the freshness scale, I even broiled them, quite diligently if I may so myself, brushing and rebrushing with the glaze industriously, paying close attention to it all the way until they were done and delicious.
We had guests that night and we served this miso-marinated trout. From the reactions of our guests, it seemed that this dish rated very high.
I dare not hope, of course.