Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Sable in Balsamic Soy Broth

Fish stew is just what we needed on this rainy autumn night. Soy sauce and balsamic vinegar go together so well that it’s hard to believe they come from opposite sides of the globe. This recipe combines them to make a one pot dish of caramelized vegetables, fish, and fragrant broth. Add a loaf of crusty bread and you have a perfect meal.

This is my emergency comfort food dish. I usually have carrots and onions on hand and the rest of ingredients are pantry standards, so all I have to do is pick up fish after work and throw it all together.

Sable (also known as Black Cod and Butterfish) is the best choice for this recipe. Its delicate flakes taste like sweet butter and feel like silk. Since it can be hard to find, feel free to substitute any flaky white or cream colored fish.

Substitutions: Cod, Haddock, Hake, Pollock, Striped bass, Black bass, Trout, and Turbot

Serves 4

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 large yellow onion, sliced
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced (1/8 inch)
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 cups water
2/3 cups dry white wine
1 bay leaf
4 sable fillet without skin (8 oz each)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped parsley for garnish
  1. Melt butter and olive oil in a large skillet that can later be covered. Add sliced onion and a generous pinch of salt and cook over medium heat stirring occasionally until soft, 6-8 minutes.
  2. Add carrots and another pinch of salt, cover, and cook stirring occasionally until tender, 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add balsamic vinegar and soy sauce and stir till absorbed, about 1 minute. Add water, wine, bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to med-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and correct seasoning.
  5. Season fish fillets with salt and pepper, add to the skillet, and scoop carrots and onions on top. Partially cover the skillet, reduce heat to low, and cook fish at a bare simmer for 8 minutes per inch of thickness turning half way through cooking time. To test for doneness, separate the flakes in the thickest part of the fish with a fork and peek inside. Fish is done when a trace of translucency remains in the center.
  6. Sprinkle with parsley and serve fish in bowls with vegetables and sauce.

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