Sablefish (black cod)

Other Names: Alaska blackcod or cod; anoplopoma (Russian); bacalao negro (Spanish); butterfish; coalfish; gindara (Japanese); kohlenfisch (German); merluzzo dell’Alasca (Italian); morue charbonnière, rascasse noire (French); sable; skilfish. Anaplapomatadae.

General Description: Sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria), long slender fish with black skin, come from the cold-water Pacific. Highly prized by the Japanese, they have firm, pearly white meat with deep, rich flavor that is very juicy when cooked and high in omega-3 fatty acids. In a practice started by Makah Indians in the Pacific Northwest, sablefish are smoked for sale at Jewish delis.

Locale and Season: Sablefish is found in deep water on the Pacific coast and is most abundant off northern British Columbia and the Gulf of Alaska. They are in season from March 15 through November 15 in Alaska and from January through September in California.

Characteristics: Sablefish have a rich, mild, and distinctive flavor with soft, velvety texture and large, moist white flakes.
They average 3 to 10 pounds. Yield is 40 percent.

How to Choose: Generally, the larger the fish, the better the quality, with the largest fish coming from the north. Longline and trap-caught fish are considered to be of superior
quality. Fresh sablefish are available as fillets, J-cut fillets (with the head and collar removed), or as steaks.

Storage: Because they are high in oil, sablefish are quite perishable and must be handled with extra care. Store surrounded by crushed ice.


Grill, sauté, pan-fry, hot-smoke, steam, poach, braise,
or roast.

Suggested Recipe: Black Cod with Miso (serves 4): Bring 3/4 cup mirin and 1/2 cup sake to a boil over high heat. Boil briefly to evaporate the alcohol, then reduce the heat and
mix in 2 cups white miso until it dissolves. Turn heat to high, add 1 cup sugar, and boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Let cool. Pat 4 black cod fillets dry and cover with the miso mixture. Cover and refrigerate 2 days. Wipe off excess miso mixture, grill or broil until brown, then bake at 400°F for 10 additional minutes or until the fish flakes.

Flavor Affinities: Chinese five-spice powder, dashi, garlic, ginger, honey, jicama, miso, mustard, napa cabbage, oyster mushroom, sake, scallion, sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, tea-smoke.

from Quirk Books: www.quirkbooks.com