Tojo’s “Dream Smoked Sablefish”

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Courtesy of Chef Hidekazu Tojo, Tojo’s Restaurant

Serves 4

1 lb (500 grams) smoked Sablefish fillets, cut into four 4 oz/125 grams pieces, about 1 inch/2.5 cm thick, skinned


2 cups (500 mL) dashi (Japanese bonito stock)
2 Tbsp (30 mL) light soy sauce
1/2 (7 mL) Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp (30 mL) mirin
2 Tbsp (30 mL) sake
2 to 3 medium Napa cabbage leaves (siu choy)
1 cup (250 mL) small oyster mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed (Use sliced pine mushrooms when in season for optimum results.)


Japanese lime, sudachi or yuzu
sprigs of Pine leaves

To double-butterfly the fish for stuffing, place each piece of the fillet, flesh side up, on a cutting board, with the grain of the fish running parallel to the top edge of the board. Starting from one side of the fillet, at a point about 1/3 inch/8 mm down from its surface, make the first horizontal butterfly cut across the fillet stopping about 1/3 inch/8 mm before reaching the opposite edge. (Be careful not to cut through the whole fillet.) At the end of this first cut, score the fillet with a shallow vertical cut about 1/3 inch/8 mm deep. From the end of this cut, make a second butterfly cut across the fillet going the opposite direction from the first, stopping, as with the first cut, before cutting through the fish. As a result, each fillet should open up like a two-fold brochure into one long piece about a third the thickness of the original. Set cut fillets aside.

In a saucepan, combine all broth ingredients and bring to a boil. Add Napa cabbage and cook for 6 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove cabbage and let cool. Cut cabbage leaves lengthwise into 3 inch/8cm long by 1/2 inch/1 cm wide batons and set aside.

Place a portion of Napa cabbage and oyster mushrooms on the centre part of each butterflied fish fillet. Fold the side flaps over to make a bundle. Place each bundle into a bowl. Add 1/2 cup/125 mL of broth to each bowl and cover bowl tightly with a square of thick parchment paper at least 2 inches/5 cm larger than the diameter of the bowl. Fold the edges of paper over the rim of the bowl to form a tight lid. Tie and secure with dried straw or raffia as illustrated.

Place bowls in a steamer over high heat and steam for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from steamer, garnish with Japanese lime slices and pine leaves and serve immediately.
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