Saturday, December 1, 2012

Black Cod (Sablefish) with Teriyaki Glaze

Black cod, aka "Sablefish," aka "Butterfish," is an incredibly rich, delicate, melt-in-your-mouth fish from Alaska and the Northern Pacific. It's really not a cod at all and, in fact, has a very different flavor and texture from cod altogether - the flesh when cooked is velvety, flaky, and has a naturally unctuous buttery flavor. Extremely delicious and nutritious (very high in Omega-3s), it is hands down my all time fav fish. Another plus is that, even though it's considered a delicacy, it is nowhere near over-fished and, therefore, a sustainably-managed species, unlike the likes of your Bluefin tunas and Chilean sea bass. Asian flavors pair well with Black cod, and I especially like any preparation using teriyaki or a sweet miso marinade (made popular by Nobu). Here's my version with a homemade teriyaki glaze:


Teriyaki Marinade and Glaze:
4 tbsp. soy sauce
4 tbsp. mirin
2 tbsp. Sake
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated

2 tsp. cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp. water (cornstarch slurry)

1 lb. Black cod fillets, skinned and cut into 4 pcs. 
2 scallions, sliced on the bias
Toasted white sesame seeds

1. Combine the teriyaki marinade ingredients together in a small bowl.

2. Place the cod fillets in a single layer in a shallow baking dish; pour about 1/4 - 1/3 of the teriyaki marinade over the fillets. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the frig. After 15 minutes, turn the cod fillets over to marinate the other side; cover and refrigerate another 15 minutes (for a total of 30 minutes).

3. Heat 2-3 tsp. of vegetable oil over medium high heat in a large saute pan. Add the cod fillets in a single layer and sear for about 2 minutes, uncovered (reserve the marinade). When the cod pieces starts to brown lightly on the bottom, very carefully turn the them over with a spatula (the fillets are very delicate and prone to breaking apart). Sear another 2 minutes until the cod is cooked through. Remove to serving plates. 

4. In the same pan, add the reserved marinade to the pan, along with the remaining teriyaki sauce. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook for about 10-15 seconds. Stir in the cornstarch slurry and cook another 10-15 seconds until the sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from heat and pour the teriyaki glaze in a bowl.

5. Drizzle some of the teriyaki glaze over the fish and garnish with sliced scallions and sesame seeds. Serve with extra glaze on the side (in case anyone wants more), steamed white rice, and your veggies of choice. A saute of Julienned Italian Marconi peppers (we grow these in the garden and they're super prolific - you can sub with green bell peppers), carrots and garlic in olive oil works well with this dish.

Sake, mirin, soy sauce, white sesame seed, black pepper.

Teriyaki marinade and cornstarch slurry.

Black cod is not easy to find. Some Asian markets carry it (although the quality is hit and miss) and, surprisingly, Trader Joe's has them frozen. Not cheap at about $13.00/lb., but the Trader Joe's fillets are still quite good - they're not as meaty as the mail order stuff straight from Alaska, but they're also less pricey.

Trader Joe's fillets are skin-on. I prefer them skinned so have to take a little time to do this carefully before marinating. Place the cod fillets in a single layer in a shallow baking dish and pour in about 1/4-1/3 of the teriyaki marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3o minutes, turning the fillets over halfway through.

Saute the fillets over medium high heat, uncovered, about 2 minutes per side. Do not overcook or over-brown. Remove fish to serving plates when done.

In the same pan, add the reserved fish marinade and also the remaining teriyaki sauce. Bring to a boil, then add the cornstarch slurry. Cook for 10-15 seconds or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and pour into a serving bowl.

Drizzle teriyaki glaze over the fish and garnish with scallions & sesame seeds. Serve with steamed white rice. Side dish is julienned peppers and carrots sauteed in olive oil, seasoned with granulated or fresh chopped garlic, kosher salt and a pinch of sugar.

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