In the meantime, this dish is emblematic of kitchen resolutions I'll be trying to keep in the new year, namely an effort to think more about flavors and how they work together regardless of tradition or the proliferation of online recipe homogeneity. Improvisation: we'll be shooting for more of that in the coming year.
On that note, here's something I pulled together with a bunch of leftovers, a nice piece of fish, and a jar of dried stinging nettles that's been mocking me from its cobwebby corner of late.
Halibut with Nettle-Miso Glaze
24 oz halibut fillet, cut into 4 portions
1/4 cup white miso
1/4 cup aji-mirin
1/4 cup sugar
2 - 3 tbsp dried stinging nettle
1. Pre-heat oven to broil.
2. Combine miso, aji-mirin, and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and whisk together into a glaze. Add dried stinging nettle to taste.
3. Cover baking pan with a sheet of tin foil. Grease foil with cooking oil. Place halibut fillets on greased foil and brush with nettle-miso gaze. Broil for several minutes, depending on thickness of fillets, until glaze is bubbling and starting to brown. Fish should be tender, opaque, and easily flaked.
4. Plate glazed halibut over squash puree.
2 large delicata squash
1 tbsp peanut oil
1 thumb ginger, peeled & diced
2 tbsp diced fennel bulb
1/4 cup sake
salt and white pepper, to taste
1. Cut squash in half and spoon out seeds. Rub with oil, season, and bake in 400-degree oven until soft, 30 - 45 minutes depending on size of squash. Scoop out squash and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a medium saucepan and sauté ginger and fennel for a minute or two. Add squash, mashing together. Pour in sake and allow to bubble off, stirring.
3. When sake has mostly cooked off, add chicken stock a little at a time and mix with immersion blender until consistency is fairly smooth. Season with salt and white pepper.
The miso glaze is nearly representative of what I mentioned above as the proliferation of online recipe homogeneity. I'm sure you know what I mean. There's so much sameness on the web, a result of food bloggers copying each other. Mediocre recipes can now be found, nearly word for word, in such abundance that they might seem like classics. This glaze is actually pretty good (and simple!), but it's certainly not original in most aspects. I tweaked it with some stinging nettle to add an earthy dimension. The squash recipe was a complete improvisation and complemented the fish.
Here's to more improvisation in 2013!