Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Succulent Sablefish

Have you tried sablefish yet? Next time you buy fish, give it a try! They can be baked, broiled, or fried and are especially apt for Asian cooking.

While it was totally unknown outside of Japan until just a few years ago on menus, it has quickly become one of the most popular items on restaurants from San Francico to Rome.
A fish by any other name does taste as sweet. The sablefish gets called “black cod,” but it is not at all related to cod. It also gets called “butterfish,” but it is not a true butterfish either. The fillets are flaky and delicate, and ever so succelent. Moreover they are high in oil content, which is great for your heart health, and may account for the “butterfish” name.
For you scientifically minded, the sablefish belongs to the family, Anoplopomatidae, which includes only sablefish and skillfish. They can range in size from one to 10 pounds.
These fabulous fish are found from central Baja california north to British Columbia. While most of the catch comes from Alaska, you can buy fresh fish, line caught, from great seafood markets along the California coast, where it falls into the category of “sustainable” fish, I’m happy to note. You can even get order them from online seafood delivery services!
These fish are particurly sought for Asian cooking and sashimi. . . so small wonder that more than 50 % of the U.S. catch is exported to Japan, where it fetches a premium price.
Give the sable fish a try at a restaurant or in your home. Kasu cod, or gilled sablefish marinated in sake and leeks, is quite the in thing, as is cold-smoked sablefish. Experiment with various recipes at home. When I googled “sablefish recipe,” I got over 76,000 hits, ranging from lemon broiled to miso glazed.
For a really spectacular but simple recipe, try the Grilled Sablefish with Spicy Soy Glaze from Epicurious. Marinate for at least 20 minutes two sablefish fillets in a mixture of 3 tablespoon light soy sauce, juice of 2 large limes, 1 very hot chili (finely sliced crosswise), 1 teaspoon maple syrup (or honey), dash of sesame oil, 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil. Grill 4 minutes on each side and dress with a bit of reserved marinade. Enjoy your fresh fish!

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