Recipe courtesy of James Rigato

Seared Lake Superior Whitefish with Dashi Broth

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 4 hr
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Pickled Daikon:

1 cup rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons salt

1 teaspoon garlic

1 teaspoon ginger

1 small beet, roasted and segmented, optional

1 daikon root, julienned

3 cups Michigan soy beans*, soaked for 24 hours

Dashi Broth:

1 pound shrimp shells, rinsed well

6 stalks celery, cleaned and chopped

4 carrots, chopped

4 parsnips, peeled and chopped

2 large Spanish onions, chopped

6 sheets kombu seaweed

2 cups packed bonito flakes


Lemon juice, optional

Hot sauce, such as Tabasco, optional

Fish and Assembly:

3 pounds Lake Superior whitefish fillets, cleaned, skin and pin bones removed, portioned into 3- to 4-ounce pieces

1/4 cup sweet soy sauce

1 cup rice flour

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, mixed with 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for sauteing bok choy

6 baby bok choy, cored, halved, leaves roughly chopped

1/4 cup white wine

2 red grapefruits, segmented


  1. For the pickled daikon: Combine the rice wine vinegar, sugar, salt, garlic, ginger and 2 segments of roasted beet, if using, in a pot to create a pickling liquid. Bring to a boil, and then pour over the daikon in a bowl. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
  2. Simmer the soy beans in salted water until tender, 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours. Drain, rinse and cool.
  3. For the dashi broth: Combine the shrimp shells, celery, carrots, parsnips and onions in a large pot. Pour in 12 cups cold water. Bring up to a light simmer, skimming any foam or particles that rise to the surface. Simmer for about 1 hour 30 minutes. Feel free to add any parsley stems or other vegetables you have as long as their flavors are conducive with the dish.
  4. Remove the shrimp shells. Add the seaweed and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the liquid, return to the pot with the bonito flakes and bring back up to a simmer for 30 more minutes. Strain again and season with salt, lemon and hot sauce, if desired.
  5. For the fish and assembly: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly sprinkle the fish with salt and brush with the sweet soy on both sides. Dredge the fish in the rice flour. Heat the oil mixture in a saute pan until very hot, and then sear the fish until browned on one side. Flip and transfer to the oven to finish cooking for 3 to 5 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, simmer the soy beans in the dashi broth to warm. Saute the bok choy in a little oil with some salt and the white wine, and then place on the bottom of each of 6 large bowl or dishes, and pile the soy beans in the center. Pour the dashi over the top, just to cover the top of the beans. Place the whitefish on top of the beans, making sure not to submerge in the broth. Top with the grapefruit segments and a small pile of pickled daikon.

Cook’s Note

*Edamame may be substituted for Michigan Soy Beans. The roasted beet used in the pickling liquid can be omitted, as it is a restaurant "trick". It is used to add a vibrant pink color to the garnish and slight earthiness to the flavor of the pickling liquid.

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