Although this recipe calls for Black Cod, the price per pound for Black Cod can be a bit steep. If you don't want to pay $25 per pound for that buttery textured fish, you can opt for regular cod or even halibut. A white fish that's fatty and isn't too fishy will soak up the delicate marinade just fine. For drink pairings, Sake is a natural choice. A good Junmai sake like Momokawa offers fresh aromatics and some almond or poppyseed muffin notes in the glass. A recent sake that did it for me was the ShirakabeGura Tokubetsu Junmai sake brewed by Takara Sake in Berkeley, California. I love this sake because for about $15 you'll get a nice serving for 2 that features a complex smooth elegant fruit aroma (passionfruit, honeydew) with notes of baked poppyseed muffins over a cashmere texture.
For wine, there's a few ways you can go with this recipe. The savory miso and soy flavors aren't too overpowering, and are only complimented by the sweetness of the birch syrup.
If you decide to pair with Chardonnay, go for one that's got a flinty matchstick thing going on. For example, the 2009 Cuvaison S Block Chardonnay is creamy with exotic spices, butterscotch, fuji apple and flinty wet rocks. The buttery black cod's BFF is the buttery texture of this wine. But the flavors will mesh well with the marinade, and neither will overpower the other.
My ultimate wine pairing with this dish is the 2009 Thomas Wine Braemore Semillon from the Hunter Valley. This is an "OMIGOD!" wine that you might not want to share with anyone. Semillon is an under appreciated grape in the U.S. that hasn't quite found its identity. It seems consumers have a hard time paying Chardonnay prices for a good Semillon. The grape grows well in different parts of the world, especially in France and Australia's Hunter Valley. A wine like the Thomas Sem will change your mind, and might even turn Chardonnay drinkers into Semillon drinkers.
The delicate texture of the white fish will soak up the balanced flavors of the marinade offering various pairing options.
In the glass you'll discover lemon and lime zest notes, along with faint cut grass and toasted almonds. Think of Semillon as Chardonnay's cool cousin. You'll like the creamy texture and the pungent almond aromas. This toasted almond thing is why I think it will pair well with the marinade. A Junmai sake has similar poppyseed muffin notes similar to almond extract. I get that same thing on the nose in the Braemore Semillon. I had a chance to interview Thomo shown in a video below. Either way, you'll have fun playing with it. Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think. Cheers!