Pacific black cod (sable fish) cooked in a broth of sake, rice vinegar, soy sauce and oil, delicious!
Photography Credit:Elise Bauer
Have you ever tried pacific black cod (also known as sable fish)?
It’s a delicate, fatty fish, sustainably fished, filled with good Omega-3s, and absolutely delicious.
The Whole Foods in my neighborhood has been carrying it with regularity. Here is a beautifully simple way to prepare it, taught to me by my friend and avid fisherman Hank Shaw.
The fillets are simmered in a Japanese-style broth of sake, soy sauce, rice vinegar, oil, and ginger. While the fillets are cooking, you spoon the simmering sauce over the top of the fillets so that the top gets infused with the sauce as well. The fillets are then topped with toasted sesame seeds and thinly sliced green onions.
Hank brines his fillets first, to firm up the flesh before cooking. I could go either way with this. If you have time, brine the fish (instructions are in the notes to the recipe), if not, just be more careful with handling the cooked fish, as it is rather delicate.
Pacific Black Cod or Sable Fish
If you have a favorite way of preparing Pacific black cod, please let us know about it in the comments!
Pan Simmered Pacific Black Cod Recipe
Pacific black cod (sablefish) have long pin bones along the sides of their fillets that are difficult to remove before the fish has been cooked. Once the fillets have been cooked, however, they are easily removed with tweezers or needle-nosed pliers.
Pacific black cod falls apart easily. If you want your result to be more firmly textured, brine the fillets in a salt brine of 1/4 cup of salt to 1 quart of water plus 2 cups of crushed ice for 20 minutes.
Sea bass fillets also work with this recipe. Sea bass fillets are thicker though, so you would want to simmer them on both sides for several minutes until cooked through.
- 1 to 1 1/2 pounds black cod fillets, skin on or skinless
- 1/4 cup sake
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup canola, rice bran or other neutral oil
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
- Dark sesame oil, for garnish
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal, for garnish
- 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
1 Prepare sauce: In a large sauté pan, mix the sake, rice vinegar, canola oil, soy sauce and ginger. Bring to a simmer on medium to medium high heat.
2 Simmer fish in sauce: Lay each fillet in the pan. (If using skin-on fillets, place the fillets skin-side down in the pan.) Use a spoon to baste the tops of each fillet until you see the flakes of the fish separate a little, which should take about 30 seconds to 1 minute per fillet.
Let the fish simmer for 3-6 minutes, depending on how thick they are. Estimate 3 minutes for a 1/4 inch-thick fillet, up to 6 minutes for an inch-thick fillet.
Gently move the fish to individual plates. If you want, use (clean) needle-nosed pliers or tweezers to remove the pin bones in the fillets.
3 Reduce sauce: Increase the heat on the sauce and boil vigorously for 1 minute, stirring constantly to reduce the sauce.
4 Serve: Spoon a tablespoon or more of the sauce over each fillet and discard the rest. Drizzle a little bit of sesame oil over each fillet, then garnish with the green onions and toasted sesame seeds.
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Pan-Seared Black Cod (Sablefish) with Brown Butter
We currently have a freezer filled with sablefish (a.k.a. black cod).
This decadent white fish is rich, buttery and melts in your mouth. It’s also called butter fish.
Normally, sablefish (or black cod) can be hard to find, at least where I live in Kentucky. Happily, one of our recent fish deliveries from Sitka Salmon Shares was packed with lots of this tasty fish!
We’ve been enjoying teriyaki sablefish and sweet chili sablefish, and I even love it in fish nachos.
Recently, though, my friend Carmy mentioned she’d had some fabulous pan-seared fish topped with brown butter, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it! Fish and brown butter are a perfect match!
This decadent pan-seared sablefish is cooked in butter and served with, you guessed it, a little spiced brown butter.
Looking for more fish recipes? Try making pan-seared lingcod, broiled cod with lemon sauce, seared albacore tuna with ginger soy sauce, spicy tuna poke and pan-seared rockfish.
Recipe: Panko Fried Pacific Black Cod
Thanks again to all my friends and contributors who have kept the blog up the last few weeks. I’ll have a delicious recipe of my own up tomorrow, and I’ll be back to posting regularly =)! More on why the long pause tomorrow, but I’ll do my best to make up for lost time!
However, before then, I’m really excited to take Dinners With Dan from the land to the seas. Eric and Brian, Dinners With Dan‘s newest contributors, come to us from Alaska where they have worked in the restaurant industry and can’t wait to share a lot of their experiences and fantastic recipes with us. They’re starting with a recipe for Panko Fried Pacific Black Cod. Please welcome Eric and Brian to the blog and give this delicious recipe a try!
Living life Alaskan involves an appreciation for proper cooking with seafood. The delicate balance of seafood and seasoning is essential. It is fairly easy to over-season a beautiful cut of fish and finding someone who knows how to perfectly balance the two deserves respect. For tonight’s dish we have selected one of the easier species of fish to cook with in Alaska. Pacific Black Cod is a delicious deep water fish that many people enjoy along with halibut. I know most people consider halibut to be the coveted fish to catch but it can be very difficult to find a proper black cod that you can cook with.
For tonight’s dinner, we have chosen several 6 ounce filets that required us to filet the skin off in order to bread them. In keeping with Alaskan tradition, we used an egg-based batter and Italian seasoning with a nice Panko breading. To complement the fish: roasted potatoes and sautéed asparagus with garlic.
Panko Fried Pacific Black Cod
- 8oz Panko breading
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- ½ cup old bay seasoning
- 4-6oz pacific black cod
- 2 cups flour
- ½ cup Italian seasoning
- 3 potatoes
- ½ bunch asparagus
- 2 eggs
- 4-6oz olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic
Mix your Panko breading and Italian seasoning in a bowl. Keep your flour in a separate bowl as you will be dipping the filets in a specific order for an ideal coating. Whisk in a large bowl your eggs and let stand. Dip your filets in the following order flour, egg, panko. While you are preparing your fish, chop the potatoes and season to taste. We added some extra virgin olive oil to give the potatoes a nice crisp once they are done in the oven.
In a large skillet, fill your pan with approximately ¼ to a ½ an inch of oil and heat at medium heat. Once up to temperature, place your breaded filets into the pan and let cook until golden brown on both sides. While you are cooking your filets you can begin preparing your asparagus for sauté. Mince your garlic and begin warming a large skillet for your asparagus. Use enough oil to coat all of the asparagus you plan on using. Once up to temperature, you can add your garlic and asparagus at the same time and sauté until tender with a fork. By now your potatoes should be almost ready to come out of the oven. If the skins are a golden brown, and you can easily stick a fork in a piece, you may pull them out and let them cool down for a few minutes as they will be extremely hot.
The most important thing is to make sure that your fish is not overcooked. To check this, simply take a fork and flake one of the edges. If it is tender and flakes easily your fish is ready to serve. The potatoes should take no longer than 20-25 minutes. Total cooking time will vary depending on how long it takes your oven to preheat. Once everything is on the stovetop, you are looking at about 15 more minutes before you are ready for plating.
After a long day out fishing or hiking, a nice warm meal is always nice to come home to. This easy to make meal will please even the pickiest of eaters. It is healthy and delicious not to mention the ingredients (assuming you have most of the spices at home already) should only set you back around twenty dollars. There is something about baked dishes in the fall that always seem to hit the spot after a hard day’s work.
Thanks so much for this recipe you two! I can’t wait until your next post!
As always, if you feel inspired to make this delicious recipe, let me know how it goes! Tweet me, comment below, or post on the Dinners With Dan Facebook page!
Pan Simmered Pacific Black Cod
We prioritize eating quality, wild caught seafood and this is where we buy it – https://wildalaskancompany.com/. If you are interested in trying it, contact me directly for a coupon! Unpaid advertising aside, I have mentioned many times previously that we eat a lot of fish and thought I would finally provide a link to our source.
We get a mixed package that includes Cod, Salmon, Halibut and Rockfish. The company runs specials and recently offered Sablefish (AKA Black Cod) which I had never heard of so I decided to try it. Cod is not a favorite of ours, we find it tough/chewy/meaty/etc. in most preparations EXCEPT for tacos. That is how we eat every filet of cod we get in our subscription. When I found out (after receiving my order) that Sablefish was a form of Cod, I was bummed.
Great news, folks! This recipe is a winner and the fish was outstanding. Buttery and tender, it was nothing like ‘regular’ Cod. If you can’t find Sablefish, the recipe identifies other options – we will be trying this with Halibut in the future.
I did not have sake so I used a recommendation from one of the reviewers and used mirin with a splash of vodka. Served it on a bed of wilted spinach that I tossed in the sauce (also a review recommendation) and brown rice.
Pan-Seared Black Cod with Morels and Asparagus
Recipe adapted from Michael Cimarusti, Providence, Los Angeles
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
6 tablespoons butter, divided
8 ounces morel mushrooms, cleaned
1 bunch (1 pound) pencil asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3-inch pieces
¼ cup finely chopped chives, plus more for garnish
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Four 6-ounce wild black cod fillets, skins on
1. In a large skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and sweat until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the morels and continue to cook until tender, 3 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook until lightly golden and tender, 4 minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, the chives and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper, and keep warm until ready to serve.
2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the fillets with salt and pepper, then make a series of scores on their skins, 1 inch apart from each other. Cook each fillet, skin-side down, until golden and crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip the fish and sear until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes more.
3. Using a slotted spoon, divide the mushrooms and asparagus between 4 plates and top each with a cod fillet, skin-side up. Spoon any remaining liquid in the mushroom pan over the cod and garnish with chopped chives, then serve.
Everyday Cod Recipes
Need to shake things up at dinnertime? Try cod. It has a mild flavor that pairs well with a variety of seasonings, making it a great choice for everything from fish sticks to tacos.
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Pan-Fried Cod with Slaw
Beer-Battered Fish and Chips
Our take on this classic British pub grub is just right. Rice flour, baking powder and beer in the batter keep the breading light and crisp, and making your own "chips" is definitely worth it. The double-frying method at two different oil temperatures ensures that the potatoes are perfectly golden and never soggy.
Substitutions for Cod
For this recipe you can use any kind of mild white fish, not just cod. Halibut, tilapia, mahi mahi… these will all work great! Just be sure that when you are cooking them to check for doneness. Tilapia will typically cook faster than, say, halibut because it is usually not as thick of a cut. Use whatever fish is “in season” and you won’t be disappointed! Click this FRESH FISH AVAILABILITY CHART to see which fresh fish is in season any month of the year.
"This was definitely a very tasty and attractive dish that looks like you put a lot of effort into it, but truly is just "fast and easy."
"The result of this was a flavorful, crunchy fish that was not greasy and was perfectly moist in the center. The slaw was absolutely delicious and the perfect accompaniment to this dish."
Ingredient Notes For This Recipe
Black cod is commonly sold as sablefish, and sometimes also called butterfish and Alaska Cod. It is the genus Anoplopoma fimbria.
If you love Chilean Sea Bass, you will LOVE the texture of black cod, because they are very similar. It is buttery and fatty, but still velvety in texture. It is not dry like cod can be because it is not as lean.
It is usually sold with the skin on. For this recipe you will need four portions, each weighing 4 to 5 ounces. You can also purchase one larger piece of fish (1 to 1.25 pounds) and cut it into portions.
Lime and Lime Zest
We all know that lemon and fish are a match made in heaven, but lime happens to be too! For maximum lime flavor, use a rasp style grater to remove the zest from the outside of the lime, then squeeze it.
Note: I recommend buying Certified Organic citrus for zesting because the skin of conventionally grown citrus fruit can harbor pesticide residues.
The other main flavor component is the fresh ginger root. Use a spoon to scrape the papery skin from the root, then grate it with the microplane grater. You will need 1 1/2 teaspoons for the marinade.
To round out all the flavors, add in a clove of garlic. You can chop this by hand with a knife, or while your rasp grater is out, you can grate it! Either works!
Simple Pan Seared Cod Recipe – Easy Buttery Skillet Recipe
Enjoy buttery, melt-in-your-mouth fish with this simple pan seared cod recipe. With only 3 ingredients, it’s a quick and easy weeknight meal.
Total Time: 20 min
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 15 min
- Heat a non-stick pan on the stove over medium-low to medium heat. Dry the cod with paper towels, and season the fillets with season salt on both sides.
- When the pan is hot, add the butter to the pan.
- Once the butter melts, swirl it to coat the pan. Then, add the seasoned fish. Depending on the thickness of the fillet, cook for 4-7 minutes on the first side. Turn the fish over when it’s cooked halfway through. You’ll see the fillet turning white on the sides. Larger fillets will take longer to cook than the smaller ones.
- Sear the cod on the second side and cook an additional 2-5 minutes. Then, remove the fish from the heat and let it rest for a couple minutes. Serve and enjoy.
Yield: 4 servings, Serving Size: 6 ounces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 230, Total Fat: 7.4g, Saturated Fat: 3.7g, Cholesterol: 95.5mg, Sodium: 235.8mg, Carbohydrates: 0g, Fiber 0g, Sugars: 0g, Protein 39.1g
Know Your Cook
- Dawn Young -
Dawn Young is a Sitka fisherman through and through. She comes from a long line of fishermen, married a fisherman (her husband Mark has been fishing since 1979!), and raised her two daughters to fish alongside her. While Dawn and her family spend most of their time fishing, in their free time they participate in the subsistence lifestyle - hunting and fishing for their food, canning and preserving what they can. Knowing where their food comes from is important to them and they pass these values down to their children and grandchildren.