Active Prep: 30 min. Inactive Prep: 9 hrs.
Difficulty: Medium
Yield: 4 servings

 I have seen a couple of recipes for this dish that come from either a chef at the restaurant or Roy’s founder Roy Yamaguchi (who attributes the inspiration for the marinade recipe to Nobu Matsuhisa of the Nobu restaurant chain), and there is another version in Roy’s seafood cookbook, but they are all different. After trying each one, I took elements that work from several of the recipes to create one master recipe that comes closer to the original dish than any single recipe has thus far. The quotes around the word “butterfish” are used in the menu because the fish isn’t a true butterfish. It is actually Alaskan black cod, but when properly cooked it has a tender, flaky texture that is as soft as butter. If you can’t find black cod, sea bass makes a great substitute. The recipe here makes much more tamari vinaigrette than you will need for the recipe, so you’ll have plenty left over to garnish other dishes. It’s easiest to make the vinaigrette if you have a food processor. Begin this recipe early in the day for a dinner meal, since the fish needs 8 to 12 hours to marinate.


1 cup white miso
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup sake
½ cup mirin
4 5- to 6-ounce Alaskan black cod fillets (or other oily fish such as sea bass)

4 ounces (1 cup) diced white onion
4 ounces (¾ cup) diced daikon radish
2 ounces red bell pepper (½ cup, about ½ pepper), finely minced
2 ounces yellow bell pepper (½ cup, about ½ pepper), finely minced
4 cloves garlic, halved
1 teaspoon minced ginger
½ cup vegetable oil ¼ cup green onions (about 6 onions, green part only), finely minced
2 tablespoons finely minced cilantro
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
⅔ cup tamari sauce
6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

How to prepare

  1. Combine all of the misoyaki marinade ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat until bubbling, then reduce the heat and simmer for 40 to 50 minutes or until the mixture is thick and a dark caramel color. Turn off the heat and cool, then pour the marinade over the fish fillets and chill for 8 to 12 hours.
  2. When the fish is just about done marinating, make the tamari vinaigrette by combining the onion, daikon radish, bell peppers, garlic, and ginger in a food processor. Pulse on high speed until the vegetables have been cut into bits about the size of rice. If you don’t have a food processor, you can also finely mince the vegetables by hand. Pour the minced vegetables into a medium bowl. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until the oil begins to smoke. Pour the hot oil into the mixing bowl with the vegetables and stir, then add the green onions and cilantro. Add the brown sugar, tamari, vinegar, and lemon juice and stir well, then cover and set aside until needed. 
  3. To make the fish, preheat a heavy sauté pan over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Place the fish in the pan and cook for 2 to 4 minutes per side or until the fish is done and the surface is slightly blackened but not burned. If the pan is heavily smoking, your heat is too high.
  4. Serve the fish with a little tamari vinaigrette spooned over the top, with rice and steamed baby bok choy on the side (as in the restaurant) or whatever sides you prefer 

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