Go fish! Does anyone still play that card game? Anyway, for Valentine’s dinner, here is an easy and elegant halibut dish you can prepare in a snap. Pan seared halibut with miso sauce. Make the rice ahead of time and re-heat, prep the asparagus in a minute to roast. You will have a healthy Valentine’s dinner on the table in just minutes. The savory miso-butter sauce is delicious as well as versatile.
If your only experience with miso is the golden soup at a sushi bar, prepare to be amazed. If you love savory, umami flavors, there is much more you can do with miso – like this miso butter sauce. Try it with fish or seared scallops. Here, I’ve paired it with fresh halibut. Other firm white fish works as well.
A centuries-old, traditional Japanese seasoning, miso is double fermented from whole soybeans into a paste. You can find it in the refrigerated dairy section of many markets and online. Look for an organic brand and compare sodium levels. If you eat gluten-free, be sure to read the label. Some miso is fermented with grain.
The best brand I have found is South River Miso which I buy off their website. While this is not as convenient as buying it at the store, and shipping these days is not cheap, their miso is totally worth it. I could eat it straight out of the jar. And have.
As miso lasts practically forever refrigerated, you can order several jars at once in different flavors and experiment in the kitchen. Read more on the South River website. For this recipe I use their sweet white miso.
Health Benefits of Miso
According to South River Miso, miso offers a nutritious balance of natural carbohydrates, essential oils, minerals, vitamins, and protein of the highest quality, containing all of the essential amino acids. South River is hand-made, wood-fired and unpasteurized. It is a living fermented food containing natural digestive enzymes and other probiotic microorganisms which aid in digestion.
According to Japanese mythology, miso was a gift to mankind from the gods to assure lasting health, longevity, and happiness. All I know I am sure happy eating miso!
An Easy Valentine’s Dinner
Season fresh halibut filets (or other white fish) with black pepper and granulated garlic. You won’t need salt as miso is salty. Sear quickly in a hot, non-stick pan with a little coconut oil until a golden crust is achieved. Turn fish over and spread with half of a sweet white miso and butter combination. You can use coconut butter or dairy butter.
One point to clarify – use oil for the pan and butter with the miso for the paste/sauce.
Splash in a bit of dry sake, white wine, fish broth or vegetable broth. Quickly cover pan with a lid and turn heat to low. The miso-butter melts over the top as the fish quickly finishes cooking, another minute or two. Cooking times will depend on the thickness of your fish filets.
Serve over black Forbidden rice with a side of fresh roast asparagus or steamed snap or snow peas. With the little miso butter that is left, remove fish to your plate and whisk with the pan juices to create a sauce, or toss with your hot rice.
Pan Seared Halibut with Miso Sauce
- 12 ounces halibut filet or other white fish
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 tablespoon sweet white miso soft at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon butter dairy or coconut, soft at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil for the pan,
- 1/3 cup sake or vegetable or fish broth
- 2 teaspoons chopped chives optional garnish
- Cut fish into two equal portions and season with black pepper and granulated garlic. Mix together 1 tablespoon of miso and 1 tablespoon butter of choice into a smooth paste.
- Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat and add 1 teaspoon coconut butter. Place fish filet top side down into pan and sear until a golden crust forms. Turn fish over and spread half of the miso-butter paste on top of the filets. Splash in the sake or broth and quickly cover the pan with a lid. Fish will steam finish in a minute or two depending on the thickness as the miso butter melts on top.
- When fish is done, remove to a plate. Use other half of miso butter to whisk with pan juices into a sauce or toss with hot rice.