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Sablefish

Also indexed as: Smoked Black Cod

Illustration

Preparation, uses, and tips

The secret to successful sablefish cookery is to not overcook it. Whichever of the following cooking methods you choose, your sablefish will be cooked when its flesh becomes opaque yet is still moist on the inside.

Baking

Place sablefish in a greased baking dish and place on a baking sheet. Brush with melted butter or oil and season with salt and pepper, cover with a sauce, or wrap in oiled foil. Bake in a preheated 450°F (230°C) oven until done, about 10 minutes per inch (about 2.5cm) of thickness of the fish.

Grilling

Place fillets over perforated foil on the grill, 4 to 6 inches (about 10 to 15cm) above prepared coals or fire. Baste with butter, oil, or marinade and close hood of grill. Cook until fish is opaque and moist on the inside, 6 to 8 minutes.

Broiling

Place seasoned and/or marinated sablefish on a well-greased broiler pan. Broil under a preheated broiler 4 to 5 inches (about 10 to 12.5cm) from heat. Cook until opaque and moist on the inside, 6 to 10 minutes.

Pan-frying

Dredge sablefish steaks or fillets with seasoned flour, crumbs, or cornmeal. Shake off any extra coating and fry in a small amount of hot butter or oil, turning once halfway through cooking time. Cook until fish is opaque and moist on the inside, 4 to 8 minutes.

Poaching

Bring poaching liquid, consisting of water, broth, and herbs and spices, to a simmer. Slip in sablefish, then cover pan and keep the liquid at a simmer for about 8 minutes per inch (about 2.5cm) of thickness of the fish.

Steaming

Place sablefish on a greased perforated rack over 1 to 2 inches (about 2.5 to 5cm) of rapidly boiling water. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and keep water at a constant boil through cooking time, 8 to 10 minutes per inch (about 2.5cm) thickness of the fish.

Buying and storing tips

Quality sablefish is easy to recognize. Fresh sablefish never smells fishy; it smells fresh like the ocean. The eyes should appear bright and clear, almost alive. The gills should be clean, and the skin moist and with tightly adhering scales. Fresh sablefish flesh will give slightly when you press it with a finger, then spring back into shape. When choosing sablefish steaks or fillets, whether they’re fresh or previously frozen, look for moist, translucent (never dried out) flesh. Keep sablefish cool on the trip from the market to your house. Never let it stay unrefrigerated for long.

Sablefish is especially perishable. When you get home from the market, unwrap your sablefish, wipe it gently with a damp cloth, then tightly wrap in plastic or foil and store in the bottom of your refrigerator. Enjoy it within 24 hours.

Frozen sablefish keeps two months in a refrigerator freezer compartment and three to four months in a deep-freeze. Cook frozen fillets without defrosting them.

Varieties

Sablefish can be found fresh, as frozen fillets and steaks, or commercially smoked and called smoked black cod. The quality of the fish varies with the depth of water at which it is caught—the deeper the better.

Nutrition Highlights

Sablefish, 1 fillet (5.3 oz.) (150g) (cooked, dry heat)
Calories: 377
Protein: 26g
Carbohydrate: 0.0g
Total Fat: 29.6g
Fiber: 0.0g
*Excellent source of: Selenium (70mcg), Niacin (7.7mg), and Vitamin B12 (2.2mcg)

*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily Value.

When cooked (dry heat), sablefish provides 1.909 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, derived from EPA (0.867g), DHA (0.92g), and ALA (0.122g), per 100 grams of sablefish.

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