More than a century ago, cider was the most popular beverage in France. Thanks to phylloxera, the grapevine root-eating pest, vines were on the decline, and apple orchards took their place. As vineyards eventually recovered, cider fell out of favor on the national scene, but remained deeply entrenched in Brittany and Normandy in the northwest, and the Basque region that boarders Spain in the south.
The northwest regions that boarder the wild Atlantic coast produce distinctly French ciders, while those in the south can echo their Spanish counterparts. The ciders of Normandy and Brittany are predominately made from a mix of bittersweet apples—varieties that lean more tannic and less acidic—and are typically lightly sparkling due to bottling before fermentation has finished. An earthy funk is common in these ciders, as well as some residual sweetness, but pure orchard fruit flavors shine and gentle fuzzy tannins offer a pleasing grip.
- ½ cup sweet miso
- ½ cup saké
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup mirin
- 1 pound cod
- 1 pound peeled shrimp
- 2 cups rice
- 1 package miso soup mix
- 1 cup cucumber, diced
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 cup sliced scallions
- ½ cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 mango, diced
- Sesame seeds
- Chili mayo
- 2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
Combine miso, saké, brown sugar and mirin in small saucepan. Bring to gentle simmer, and cook about 5 minutes.
Place cod and shrimp in baking dish, and pour miso mixture on top. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, and up to 24 hours.
Stir together 2 ½ cups water, rice and miso soup mix in rice cooker. Cook.
Remove fish from marinade and pat dry. Heat oven to 400˚F.
Heat oven-safe pan on over medium-high heat and coat with thin film of oil. Place cod, skin side up, in pan and sear until light brown, 1–2 minutes. Flip and place in oven to finish cooking, about 5 minutes.
Remove from oven and use a spatula to carefully transfer cod to plate. Add shrimp to pan and sauté until cooked through.
Mix together cucumber, sesame oil, lemon juice, scallions and cilantro, and season with salt, to taste.
Split rice among four bowls, and top with cod, shrimp and cucumber salad. Serves 4.
Andrew Fortgang, co-owner and wine director at Le Pigeon and Canard, in Portland, Oregon, recommends the Aval Cidre Artisanal, which comes from Brittany, “where the tradition of cider-making goes back millennia. The cider is dry, with just a hint of fruitiness which places the fruit in the dish, but also has a nice funky note that brings out the miso.”