Thursday, November 27, 2008

Miso-Magic! (Miso-Glazed Trout)

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.
Nothing reeked.

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.

Miso Marinade
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!

Miso Magic!

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.

A 10?

I dare not hope, of course.


  1. Oh my hubby will love this! Miso paste on grilled eel fish is what he likes the best though. With some white rice this fish is perfect hehehe! Yay im glad to be back!

  2. If I only have to judge from the looks: Yeah! A big ten!

  3. He, he... I hate it when I forget my fresh fish in the fridge the way you explain in your post! Most of the times, I throw it away... I know, don't look at me that way... but now I know what to do to have a 10 fish on the plate :D. Thanks for the tip ;D

  4. The pairing of miso with fish is always perfect. I did this marinade with another type of fish and it worked wonders as well.

  5. Okay, I am just SPEECHLESS. HOOOOOLY CRAP. Your pictures are sooooo beautiful, but that miso-glazed fishie steals the show!!! YUM!!!

    Sorry if I sound over-excited, miso-glazed salmon is one of my all-time favs and your recipe looks amazing! Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. Talk about some fish I could sink my teeth into - yup - this rocks!


  7. I adore miso and your trout looks awesome. I probably would have given it a 10....

    I've never had steelhead trout before. How does it compare to rainbow trout?

  8. Miso works really well on fish! I have been wanting to try steelhead trout.

  9. I have some miso that I bought specifically for a Bittman recipe to use on fish. I never did, but this has inspired me to give it a try.

  10. Dhanggit:
    Haha... we've missed you! I don't know if we see eel being sold here. I see them sold with the Japanese seasoning on them already. And yes, white rice, OF COURSE. =D

    Darius T Williams:

    Well, we don't to force you to use spoiled fish! Haha... Maybe as long as its 5/10 on the freshness cale it's OK... throw it away if it's 4/10 or below. LOL.

    Yeah, I believe the miso magic would apply to all fish. =)

    Oh, over-excited about food is quite justified in our books. "Holy CRAP" is usually my expression of choice too. Haha.

    Choosy Beggar Tina:
    The steelhead here is always pink/orange in color (not sure if all steelhead trout are like that). It's actually like a "salmon-light", I think. So you can get sort-of-salmon taste but probably not as expensive?

    Steelhead trout is always available at the Costco here, actually.

    Tell us if it works miso-magic on your fish too. =)

  11. hi there!

    out of topic...but would you know of any fish head lomi recipes? (the kind that is popular among chinoys here in the philippines)
    i happen to come across your mom's many yummy dishes in your site and i can sooo relate! hehe. those are the comfort foods we usually have at home. (dyong kwe, ma-kut, etc..)

  12. What a good save for that 6.5 fish! I'm always afraid of buying fish I won't use that day.

  13. A perfect ten indeed, guys! Beautifully shiny glaze you've achieved. I thank the honey most of all ;)

  14. That's some good lookin' fillets and Asian marinadae pairs well here. I really like the care you two take with seafood.

  15. I used to eat macrobiotic for quite some time, this is where I discovered miso. I adore miso and often have a bowl of soup for breakfast. You can be sure that I will make this dish as the fish looks splendid. Thanks for sharing.

  16. newbie:
    Sorry it's taking a while to reply. Unfortunately, we don't know fish head lomi recipes. I think perhaps Mama has cooked this before, but we can't really remember. Sorry!

  17. I was just thinking about making miso-glazed black cod tomorrow! this trout looks yummy!

  18. You are very daring!
    I would've thrown the fish away.
    A 6.5 rating is not high enough!

    Thank goodness the miso paste saved the day!

    Stacey Snacks

  19. I love this dish so much!
    The marinade is also good for sea bass and flounder!

  20. Cakebrain:
    Cindy. Lo.:

    Stacey Snacks:
    Haha, I don't think it was as scary as JS made it out to be. I think she has higher stadards... so perhaps her 6.5 is really a 7.5. Haha.

  21. I have some speckled trout I want to cook with an asian flair tonight- and I think this miso tip may be a winner, as I have a container of miso that I need to use.

    BTW_ how long does miso keep in the fridge?

  22. Andie:
    Actually, I don't exactly know how long miso keeps. It does keep for a while, though. Hope your miso trout turned out great!

  23. I'm trying this with salmon steaks. They're in the fridge right now :)

    I also added a little bit of liquid smoke and some fresh ground black pepper to the marinade. Gonna let them soak up flavours overnight and cook em up for dinner tomorrow with a mushroom risotto (strange pairing, I know, but I had miso glazed sea bass with mushroom risotto once, and it was fantastic!)

    Also, I discovered a great way to keep miso for amazingly long periods. Freeze it! when you need to use it, just take it out of the freezer about 20-30 mins before you need it and leave it on the countertop. It thaws pretty easily!

  24. Anon:
    Hope it turns out great! Ah, we've never tried freeing miso before. Thanks for the tip.

  25. I stumbled upon your blog while looking for a glaze for our Steelhead for dinner tonight. We made your miso magic and it was delicious! Thanks!

  26. Chef Fresco:
    Thanks! We're glad you liked it. =)


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