A few days ago, I was making dinner and the recipe called for putting peppers under the broiler to roast them. Without thinking, I put the peppers in a pyrex dish and placed it under the broiler. Something niggled at the back of my mind, but because I still had a million things to do, I pushed it away and went about my business.
A few minutes later, it suddenly came to me. OMG!!!! (I don’t actually say OMG in real life, but when written, it conveys exactly the panic I was feeling.) You can’t put a pyrex dish under the broiler! It will explode!
And how do I know this?
Well, a few years ago, when Jim and I bought our first home together, we realized we were eating out 4 – 5 times a week. In an effort to save money, I decided I was going to cook more. I wasn’t much of a cook at this point but I know how to follow directions so I figured it shouldn’t be too hard.
We had recently eaten miso black cod, made famous by Nobu Matsuhisa and were in love. When I found out black cod is sustainably fished and full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, I was determined to try Nobu’s recipe at home.
It seemed like a simple enough recipe but gathering the ingredients turned out to be a challenge. First of all, no one sells black cod. I went to every grocery store, fish store, specialty store that I could think of and no black cod. I ended up having to special order it. Then I couldn’t find the hajikami (a pickled ginger root) that accompanies the fish. I had to go to 5 Japanese grocery stores before I found it.
Once you have all the ingredients, you have to make the miso marinade 2 to 3 days before actually cooking so the fish can marinate in it. So, following the recipe, I lovingly slathered my very hard to find black cod with the miso marinade and set it in the fridge to marinate for 3 days.
The 3rd day finally arrived and I again followed the directions and placed the fish under the broiler as directed (but on a pyrex dish). I shut the oven and walked out of the kitchen, feeling really accomplished. I’ve got this – I can make a meal Nobu would be proud of!
All of a sudden, we heard a loud bang, followed by a tinkling noise, as if something had exploded. Jim, Pinot (we only had Pinot then – Lokie hadn’t arrived yet) and I came running into the kitchen from all directions and skidded to a halt in front of the oven. He looked at me, then at the oven and asked,
“What do you have cooking in there?”
“Miso black cod.”
“Wow – sounds good. Umm… is it suppose to make that noise?”
“Do you want me to check on it?”
“Yes, thank you.”
I thought our entire oven had self combusted and I was afraid to see what had happened to my fish. He slowly opened the oven door, and there, on a single piece of pyrex glass, sat my beautiful miso black cod. I sighed in relief, until I realized that the rest of the pyrex dish had shattered into a million glittery pieces all over the oven. And yet, my beautiful miso black cod was intact, clinging to the sole surviving piece of pyrex glass, while our oven was now coated with 300 zillion (I know I said a million but on closer inspection, it’s more like 300 zillion) tiny pieces of glass.
While part of my brain realized that dinner was now ruined, the part of me that had spent all that time hunting down black cod, then hajikami and lovingly slathered on the marinate and waited 3 whole days for it to marinate, refused to believe that I couldn’t save that piece of miso black cod.
Without even thinking about it, my hand reached out toward the oven so I could rescue my miso black cod from the glittery mess our oven had become. Jim stopped me and said,
“What are you doing? You can’t touch that. You’ll burn yourself and probably cut yourself.”
“I think I can save the miso black cod. I just have to get it off that piece of pyrex dish and then I’ll brush it off and it will be all good for dinner.”
Jim looked at me kindly, the same way you would look at a crazy raving person, and said quietly, as if not wanting to set me off,
“I don’t think we can eat that fish. There’s probably shards of glass embedded in it. Why don’t we leave the oven open for now so it can cool off, and then I’ll clean up the glass while you call for take-out?”
I was not ready to admit defeat. I had worked hard for that miso black cod, darn it, and I was going to eat it, regardless of an evil pyrex dish that had the gall to explode in my oven. I had followed Nobu’s recipe word for word and did everything he said. Why didn’t he write in the recipe – DO NOT PUT YOUR BEAUTIFUL MISO BLACK COD ON A PYREX DISH UNDER THE BROILER. IT WILL EXPLODE.
I blame Nobu. It’s not my fault that I didn’t know you can’t broil a pyrex dish. (Okay, I’m being unfair. He did say to put it on a broiler pan but I didn’t know a pyrex dish is not the same as a broiler pan).
I don’t remember much about the rest of the night. I have hazy recollections of getting the fish out of the oven, trying to convince Jim I can pick out all the pieces of glass in it, actually picking glass out to show him, and then it all goes blank.
He may have managed to convince me to put that miso black cod in the garbage. If he did, that could explain my post traumatic amnesia. Or I may have succeeded in convincing him I got all the glass out and served the beautiful miso black cod with a side of hajikami for dinner. And serving my husband glass encrusted miso black cod may have sent me into a post traumatic amnesiatic state.
Jim cleaned all the glass out of the oven himself (I was still in my post traumatic amenisatic state) and all the marinade that had adhered to every crevice of the oven (I didn’t realize that in the explosion, pieces of marinade were flung all over the oven where they immediately sizzled and congealed to the hot oven).
He’s a keeper. He didn’t complain when it took him hours to get all the glass out of the oven. He didn’t complain when he spent another few hours scrubbing all the congealed marinade out of the oven. He didn’t say one word when we couldn’t use the oven for over a month because it smelled so strongly of fish that anything you baked in it came out smelling and tasting like fish. And he didn’t say a word when I never made miso black cod again, even though it’s one of his favorites.
Instead, he said,
“I can’t wait to see what you will attempt next!”
This has been a public service announcement and I hope you took note and I have prevented you from making a mess of your oven. I believe I will start a series on WHAT NOT TO DO IN A KITCHEN.
I’m older and wiser now, feeling like I may try the miso black cod again. New house, new kitchen, new oven. Here’s the link to the recipe in case you want to try it. Nobu’s Miso Black Cod.
Pinot says, “Whatever you do, don’t put your miso black cod on a pyrex dish under the broiler. It will explode. I was a witness.”
And Jim says he won’t clean your oven for you. You have been forewarned.