You might have seen sable on restaurant menus as "black cod." I always found this misnomer really funny, since this Alaskan fish is way more delicious than cod and does not even belong to the cod family. Let's face it -- cod is a vehicle for sauce. Sable, on the other hand, is fatty, sweet, and just luscious. I am guessing it got its "black cod" name the same way Patagonian toothfish got it's "Chilean sea bass" name. Who wants to eat a toothfish or sable? But a bass or a cod is a totally different story. Just comes to show that consumers will always choose familiarity over deliciousness.
Sable is so versatile, you can do pretty much anything to it: roast, poach, steam, broil, sear, smoke. The only technique I would stay away from is grilling. Sable is so delicate, it might fall through the rack. Yesterday, I needed a 20 minute dinner, so I decided to coat it with a little glaze assembled out of whatever I had on hand and broil. I served it with orange juice and ginger braised carrots.
Sable with Balsamic Orange Ginger Glaze
Fish substitutions: salmon, chilean sea bass, halibut, steelhead trout, or pretty much any relatively thick fillets that are not too dense.
4 sable fillets without skin (6oz each)
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp orange juice
1 Tbsp orange zest
1 inch of ginger, peeled and minced
2 tsp oil
Salt and pepper
- Preheat the broiler and wrap a broiler pan with foil.
- Season sable generously with salt and pepper on all sides.
- Combine honey, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, orange juice, orange zest, ginger, and oil. Mix well and coat sable with this mixture. Sable should be only lightly coated, as too much of the glaze can burn under the broiler.
- Broil sable 4 inches away from the flame just until browned, 3-5 minutes. Pour the rest of the glaze on top of sable and finish in the 425F oven until done. The total cooking time (broiling plus baking) should be about 8 minutes per inch of thickness. To test for doneness, separate the flakes in the thickest part and look inside. Sable is done when a trace of translucency remains in the center.
Note: I did not forget to tell you to flip the fish. Cooking it only on one side allows for glaze to really caramelize on top.