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Herb-Crusted Alaskan Sablefish (Black Cod)

Herb-Crusted Alaskan Sablefish (Black Cod)

This elegant recipe — suitable for dinner parties — comes to us from Jerry Traundfeld, Executive Chef of Seattle’s acclaimed Poppy restaurant.

Sablefish — a.k.a. “black cod” — is an outrageously luscious white fish that boasts levels of fat and omega threes that rival those in King salmon.

It’s entirely distinct from cod — in biological, nutritional, and culinary terms — but has traditionally been called black cod because of its superficial resemblance to that species.

And sablefish is much more forgiving, compared with tuna or with lean white fish such as cod or halibut, which will overcook pretty quickly if left unattended.

Note: Sablefish usually contains bones, because they're extremely difficult to remove during processing without ripping the fish apart. Be aware of their presence when you're eating sablefish.

This recipe is designed to serve 8; to serve fewer people, simply divide the ingredients accordingly.

Herb-Crusted Alaskan Sablefish (Black Cod)
Recipe by Jerry Traundfeld, Executive Chef of Poppy
Serves 8; Prep time 25 minutes; Cook time 30 minutes


  • 6 ounces pastured-pork bacon or wild Alaskan salmon bacon, diced
  • 3 large red onions, peeled, halved, and sliced from root to tip
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine or vermouth
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped thyme leaves (or another herb of your choice, such as oregano)
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons organic red balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar

  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs, fresh bread crumbs, or a gluten-free alternative*
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped thyme leaves (or another herb of your choice**)
  • 3 Tablespoons melted butter


  1. Cut the fish into 8 equal portions. Mix the soy sauce and sugar in a resealable plastic bag and add the fillets. Seal the bag and turn it several times to evenly distribute the marinade; refrigerate for at least 4 hours (24 hours maximum).
  2. Meanwhile, make the braised red onions: Cook the bacon in a large saucepan until it renders and begins to crisp. (Note: If you use salmon bacon, it will cook in 3-5 minutes, and won’t render much, if any, fat. Cook only until just done, not until it crisps.) Pour off half the fat (from pork bacon).
  3. Add the red onions to the pan along with the wine, soy sauce, thyme, brown sugar and vinegar. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid boils away and the onions are tender, about 15 minutes. The onions can be refrigerated until you are ready to bake the fish.
  4. Toss the panko or bread crumbs with the parsley, thyme and melted butter in a mixing bowl.
  5. When ready to assemble, preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  6. Reheat the braised onions in a saucepan and spread them out in a large shallow baking dish. Lift the fish fillets from the marinade and arrange them on top of the onions, skinned side down.
  7. Top each fillet with an even coating of the crust mixture, gently patting it on with your fingertips. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or just until the fish flakes apart slightly when nudged with your finger and the interior is no longer translucent.
  8. Turn the broiler to high and broil until the crust is golden brown. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Serve with mashed or roasted winter squash, or braised winter kale.

Nutrients per serving: 599 calories, 41g total fat, 12g saturated fat, 63% calories from fat, 113mg cholesterol, 32g protein, 20g carbohydrate, 1.5g fiber, 1484mg sodium, 108mg calcium, and 2800mg omega-3 fatty

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