Broiled Miso Sake Fish: Patience and Saying Goodbye

For AJ, BP, KP, MP, HK, JL, JL, EC, IC, EC – True North Sunday School Kids

I said goodbye on the last Sunday of February, to a group of Sunday School students whom I’ve taught in various capacities for the 9 years.  To the group that I said farewell, I have changed every single one of their diapers, escorted every single one of them to the bathroom, assisted with variety of tasks in terms of their care (a few have peed on me) and for all of them, I was a part of their lives from the time they were 2 years old and up. I was with them through building moves, church transitions (three different church names in our 9 years together) and have found extreme joy and blessing in having been able to watch a group of children grow physically and spiritually.
But partings and goodbyes are always a mixed bag of emotions.  On the one hand, I am not leaving my church, but merely leaving this class, so I am actually in the building with these kids for the foreseeable future.  So it’s not a “good-bye-I’m-never-seeing-you-again” type of good bye, but still – there was some sadness and tiny bit of my heart getting torn because it was time to let go of these kids.  For the current 5th graders, somehow, timing and teacher movement made it possible for me to be their teacher from the time they were 2 years old to the present. Many of our years together were in a “one-room schoolhouse” type of environment with Kindergarteners to 5th graders all in Sunday School together.  And I’ve loved my time with these young people so much that I thought that someone would have to pry this class from my dead lifeless fingers before I would give it up.
But sometimes it is time to say goodbye, to allow something new to happen – new changes, new blood, new activity, new movement – something new that overall benefits everyone.  Now was the time for that newness to happen for these kids and our church — I accepted it and decided it was God’s plan.  But God is always good to those who love and serve him,  because before I was to move departments, I had the opportunity to ask my students if they would liked to be baptized over Easter.
The amazing thing was many of these students, to whom I’ve given all the Bible knowledge I could, all the stories to show them the real living God, all the love and laughter and jokes I could to demonstrate the joy that comes from knowing your Savior, excitedly raised their hands and said, “Yes.  I want to be baptized.”  It was God telling me that my work has been blessed and that from what little I could give, God magnified and made into something far greater.  I cried when I saw all those eager faces and all those hands lifted, because there was an abundance of what I hoped for, but did not expect. Among those hands were the hands of my own three children, and the hand of a young man BP, who when he was a young 2 year old, I often shook my head wondering how I could engage him and show him who God was.  He too, raised his hand, raised it first in fact, and was one who seemed the most sad about my changing teaching positions.
Don’t get me wrong – teaching Sunday School has often been a time of insanity and intensity – but patience and waiting upon God wins.  I don’t know if 9 years ago, I would have expected to see fruits like young people willingly choosing to take a step of faith and getting baptized, but here they are, ready to do so.  I’m going to be brutally honest and say that I’m not the most amazing Sunday School teacher out there, but even then, God blessed me.  If you’ve ever, in passing, thought about teaching Sunday School, I’ll tell you for certain – do it.  It’s worth it.  You won’t ever forget the time you gave to it.
Miso Sake Fish is one of those things that require a little bit of patience and some time.  You don’t get to just slather on the simple ingredients and cook it right away – you have to give yourself some lead time, marinating it and allowing it to sit for two or three days before you do anything to it.  You must let time do its thing. After you give the fish its space, and don’t try to cook it before it’s ready, you will get an amazing piece of flavorful fish that far transcends the simplicity of the ingredients.
Broiled Miso Sake Fish
Serves 4 to 6
3/4 cup Sake
6 tablespoons white miso paste
6 tablespoons sugar
2.5 to 3 lbs firm white fish, like cod or ling – go ahead and experiment with other white fish, but fatty fish will yield more favorable results
Two or three days before you plan to eat the fish, prepare marinade and marinate fish.  Bring sake to boil in medium saucepan over high heat.  Boil for 30 seconds, allowing alcohol to burn off.  Turn heat to low and add miso paste and whisk.  Once miso is fully incorporated, add sugar and raise heat to high again.  Continue whisking so that sugar doesn’t burn and it is fully dissolved.  Remove from heat and allow marinade to cool to room temperature.
Cut and slice fish into good portion sizes – think about a nice serving for each diner.  Dry and pat fish and rub with cooled marinade. Place in non reactive bowl and cover tightly.  Leave in refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
When fish has finished marinating, preheat oven to broil.  On a large cookie sheet with enough room for all of your fish pieces, line with foil and drizzle some mild oil over the sheet.  Oil helps the marinade to caramelize and also helps the fish not to stick. Take each piece of marinated fish, and wipe off excess marinade (I like to do this over the sink) and place on pan, gently coating fish with the oil.  Repeat with all pieces of fish.
Place into oven and broil, for 8 to 15 minutes, depending on size and thickness of fish.  Wait until golden brown begins to form on the outside of the fish.  The thinner the fish filets, the faster the fish will cook.  Don’t be afraid of removing some of the thinner pieces before the thicker pieces are done. Fish is finished when it is opaque and flakes easily.
Serve with rice and a sprig of cilantro if desired.

Printable recipe
On a cooking note, I experimented with trying to get that lovely lacquer-like finish you get in restaurants when you order this dish and wasn’t entirely successful.  I did end up having a fun time trying to clean a super crazy burnt oven safe fry pan (two of them) and I didn’t really find the texture of the fish that much better.  So, to preserve your sanity, your kitchen, and to prevent burning smells from taking place, I highly recommend you stay with the broiling method.
But you can see the results below.  On the left is the pan fried, finished in the oven version, and on the right is the the oven broiled version.

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