Sake-Miso Marinated Alaskan Butterfish and Vegetarian Soba Noodle Sushi

Even with a couple restaurants and countless cookbooks under his belt, chef Ming Tsai knows a good thing when he sees it (or, tastes it, as the case may be). That’s why this butterfish recipe has been a mainstay on the menu at Blue Ginger since the early days. Give it a whirl and see if you can master Tsai’s east-meets-west style.


Servings: 4


For the fish
  • 1 cup light miso (shiro-miso)
  • 1/2 cup mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)
  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 5 inch by 3 inch pieces, about 7 ounces each, of Alaskan Butterfish
For the sushi
  • 1/2 pound dried soba noodles
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup scallions (green parts only), chopped
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons wasabi oil, plus additional for drizzling
  • 4 tablespoons pickled ginger (gari), chopped
  • 4 sheets toasted nori
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and julienned
  • 10 ounces wakame (seaweed) salad
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • bamboo sushi rolling mat
  • soy syrup for drizzling
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt


For the fish
  1. In a medium nonreactive bowl, combine the miso, mirin, sake, ginger, grapeseed oil and sugar and stir to blend.
  2. Add the butterfish, turn to coat and marinate, covered and refrigerated, overnight, or at least 8-12 hours.
For the sushi
  1. To make the sushi, bring a large quantity of salted water to a boil. Then add the noodles to the boiling water and cook until slightly softer than al dente, about 8 minutes.
  2. Fill a medium bowl with water and add ice. Then drain and transfer the noodles to the ice water. When cold, drain well.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the noodles, cilantro, scallions, soy sauce, chopped ginger, vinegar, wasabi oil and 2 tablespoons of the pickled ginger and toss to blend.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Have a small bowl of water handy. Place a sheet of nori shiny side down on the rolling mat with a long edge towards you.
  6. Evenly spread a 1/4-inch layer of the noodles mixture on the bottom half of the nori and top the upper third of the mixture with 3 to 4 strips of cucumber and 2-4 pieces of pepper.
  7. To roll, lift the mat, compressing it against the filling as you roll the bottom edge in on itself.
  8. Continue rolling toward the top edge until only 1/4-inch of the nori remains unrolled.
  9. Moisten a finger and wet the edge of the nori. Then press the mat to seal the roll.
  10. Allow the roll to rest, seam side down, for 2 minutes.
  11. Repeat with the remaining nori and filling ingredients.
  12. Cover the rolls lightly with plastic wrap and set aside.
  13. Prepare an outdoor grill or preheat the broiler.
  14. Wipe the marinade from the fish and season it with pepper to taste.
  15. Grill or broil the fish, turning it once, until just cooked through 10-12 minutes.
  16. Meanwhile, cut each roll into 5 pieces, 3 straight across and 2 diagonally.
  17. Divide the sushi pieces among 4 plates.
  18. Add a small mound of the salad, if using to each and top each with a piece of the fish.
  19. Drizzle over the soy syrup and wasabi oil, garnish with the sesame seeds and remaining pickled ginger.
  20. Wipe the marinade from the fish and season it with pepper to taste.

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