Miso-Glazed Mero (Japanese Sea Bass)

The Golden Door Spa in Escondido is world-renowned for its healthy spa cuisine, and we had the pleasure of visiting with their executive chef Curtis Cooke during a recent visit. After touring his organic garden, we enjoyed a delicious meal in the dining room. Then, it was off to the kitchen to watch him prepare the Golden Door’s famous miso-glazed mero recipe — which is a type of Japanese sea bass. The ingredients you’ll need for this recipe are the fresh fish of your choice and ginger, miring, miso paste, sake, soy sauce. For the side, you’ll need quinoa, scallions, garlic cloves, fresh ginger, and enoki mushrooms.

Special thanks to Curtis Cooke for recreating this delicious seafood dish for us!

Miso-Glazed Sea Bass

Miso-Glazed Sea Bass


  • For the Miso-Glazed Mero:
  • Large knob of fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 1/4 cup white or light yellow miso paste
  • 1/4cup sake or dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 6 (4-ounce) skinless mero fillets
  • For the Grilled Pineapple and Mango Salsa:
  • 6 (1/4-inch-thick) slices fresh pineapple
  • 4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices red onion
  • 1/4 large mango, diced (1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 serrano or jalapeño chile, seeded and minced (optional)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, to taste
  • Pinch of kosher salt, or to taste
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • For the Quinoa:
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • Grapeseed or canola oil spray
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions (white and green parts)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 10 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and diced (3 cups)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper, or to taste


  1. Prepare the mero. Grate the unpeeled ginger on the large-holed side of a box grater until you have about lh cup. Collect the grated ginger in your hand and squeeze over a bowl to extract the juice. You should have 1 tablespoon juice; if you don't, grate more ginger and squeeze out the juice until you do. Discard the grated ginger.
  2. Pour the ginger juice into a small bowl along with the mirin, miso, sake, and soy sauce. Whisk together until well blended. Place the mero fillets in a shallow dish or pan big enough to hold the fish in a single layer. Pour the marinade on top and turn the fish over so it is completely coated. Cover the pan and refrigerate for at least
  3. 2 hours and up to 24 hours; the longer the fish marinates, the better. Remove the pan from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking the fish.
  4. Prepare the salsa. Prepare a medium-hot grill or heat a grill pan over mediumhigh heat. Spray the pineapple and onion slices on both sides with grapeseed oil. Grill 2 minutes per side, until there are grill marks on both sides and the onion is softened. Remove the pineapple and onion from the grill and let cool to room temperature.
  5. Dice the pineapple and onion and transfer to a large bowl. Add the mango, cilantro, serrano, lime juice, salt, and pepper. (The salsa may be made several hours in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator. Serve at room temperature.)
  6. Prepare the quinoa. Place the quinoa in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Use your hand to swish it around a few times. Drain and repeat until the water in the bowl is clear. In a medium pot, combine the quinoa with 1-1/4 cups of water. Bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes to steam and finish cooking.
  7. Spray a large skillet with grapeseed oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the scallions, garlic, and ginger to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms soften slightly, 3 to 4 minutes, adding 1 to 2 teaspoons water if necessary to prevent sticking. Serape the mixture into the quinoa and use a fork to fluff the quinoa and incorporate the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Position an oven rack at the highest level and preheat the broiler to high; the broiler should be just above the fish so it caramelizes nicely.
  9. Arrange the fish in a shallow pan and top each fillet with a teaspoon of marinade. Broil the fish, checking it often and turning the pan occasionally to prevent burning. When the top of the fish is dark caramel brown, after 5 to 6 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and pierce the fish with a toothpick; it should pass with no resistance. If the fish is not done, reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees F. Return the fish to a low rack in the oven to finish cooking, 3 to 5 minutes.
  10. To serve, divide the quinoa among six plates. Lay a piece of fish on top of or alongside the quinoa. Top the fish with a generous spoonful of salsa. Serve, passing the remaining salsa at the table.

Video prepared by Curtis Cooke from "Golden Door Cooks at Home" for CookingSessions.com and Chef Tips.