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Get hooked on black cod!

The deep fjords and upwelling cold water currents of the North Pacific make southeast Alaska and the waters off Baranof Island one of the richest ecosystems on the planet.

Sablefish, colloquially known as black cod, are one of the special delicacies that come from this unique place. Sablefish roam the deep waters of the ocean floor along the continental shelf at the edge of life. While migrating closer to shore our small boat fishermen are lucky enough to cross paths with them, catching these fish with hook and line. And we’re glad they do. Black cod is truly a special delicacy and at the heart of our fishermen-owned cooperative, just like our wild salmon and halibut.

Chefs around the country are just beginning to discover the beauties of black cod. Its oily meat and perfect flake pairs beautifully with teriyaki sauce or the classic miso marinade. This honey black cod recipe is also spectacular and highly recommended. One of our customers in Minnesota noted after making it, “Flavor was great. Texture was amazing…soft (in a good way) and really unmatched in any fish.” See what’s special about our black cod in this video.

black cod fishing

For any home chefs wanting to give it a try but are intimidated about cooking a new fish, black cod is really hard to mess up. For those who like rich foods, sablefish flesh is oily. Sablefish eat nutrient-dense fish like pollock, herring, echelon, candle-fish, Pacific cod, jellyfish, and squids. Sablefish are loaded with heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. On average, sablefish have 1.8 grams of Omega-3s per 100-gram serving versus 1.3 grams for wild king salmon, which are also loaded with Omega-3s.

Our Alaska Gold black cod comes from a cooperative of quality-oriented fishermen with a deep pride in what they do. In this video, one of our fishermen Bert Bergman describes the process of fishing for black cod and notes, “When you’re purchasing something from Seafood Producers Cooperative you’re not just getting something good to eat. You’re also supporting fishing families that depend upon a healthy ecosystem to continue. You’re supporting towns like Sitka that depend on those fishing families. You’re supporting a whole way of life that’s truly unique.”

Our fishermen, the local residents of Sitka, and those of us in the office all know that Alaska Gold Black Cod is something truly special. So is our fishermen-owned cooperative.

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Steamed Black Cod Pacific Rim Style with Chinese Black Beans and Umeboshi

Steamed black cod with with Chinese Black Beans and Umeboshi

Here is a recipe from Captain Calvin Hayashi, one of our fishermen who fishes on the F/V Seaweed II.

This dish combines the delicious flavors of Pacific Rim cuisine, featuring Alaska sablefish (black cod), blended with Chinese fermented black beans, and Japanese umeboshi (salted pickled plum). This is a dynamite recipe that some of us in the office make for specials meals around the holidays or hosting friends during spring and summer.

Ingredients:

3 sablefish (black cod) portions, cut in half, or 1 sablefish fillet

¼ c. fermented Chinese black beans (dried salted soybeans)

1 T garlic black bean sauce

3 umeboshi

2 T fresh ginger

2 T fresh garlic

10 green onions (greens only)

Hot chili sesame oil

Toasted sesame oil

Peanut oil

Teriyaki basting sauce

Toasted sesame seeds

Instructions:

  1. Prepare fish by thawing, removing pin bones, and wiping dry with a paper towel.
  2. Finely chop garlic and ginger, sauté with 1 t hot chili sesame oil and 1 t toasted sesame oil.
  3. Julienne cut green onions into 1” strips.
  4. Coarsely chop black beans.
  5. Remove pit from umeboshi and cut into 1/8” strips
  6. Make a teriyaki sauce for basting (or use a commercially prepared teriyaki sauce such as Yoshida).  Combine the following to make your own teriyaki sauce:

a. ¼ c soy sauce, preferably shoyu

b. ¼ c water

c. 1 t finely chopped garlic

d. 1 t finely chopped ginger

e. 2 T brown sugar

f. 2 T aji mirin

g. 1 T sake

h. 1 T toasted sesame oil

i. 1 T honey

j. Dash of black pepper

7. Measure 2 T peanut oil and 1 T hot chili oil into small saucepan.

8. Place black cod pieces, skin side down, in a bamboo steamer.

9. Lightly baste black cod with garlic black bean sauce.

10. Cover fish with garlic and ginger, and a scattering of chopped black beans.

11. Arrange 3-5 strips of umeboshi on each piece of fish.

12. Let stand for 15 minutes, allowing flavors to meld.

13. Put steamer in pan or wok with 2 c water.  Place lid on steamer and begin cooking at medium high heat.  Depending on thickness of fillets, the steaming process will take between 20-30      minutes.  Black cod will easily flake when done.

14. Sporadically drizzle teriyaki basting sauce on each piece, giving additional flavor, and keeping the fish moist.  As you drizzle (about every five minutes), rotate steamer baskets to different levels, ensuring uniform cooking (depending on number of baskets).

15. When fish is nearly done, begin heating the peanut/hot chili sesame oil.  When fully cooked, remove fish from steamer and arrange on platter.  Top with a generous covering of onions.  Lastly, pour hot smoking oil over onions and fish.  This searing process completes the cooking and flavor infusion.  Lightly sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Serve with rice and vegetables or an Asian salad.

This recipe is dedicated to my mother, Yoriko Hayashi, who inspired me to love cooking.  Enjoy!

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Sake-Marinated Black Cod Recipe

Sake-marinated black cod recipe.
Sake-marinated black cod recipe.

A while back SPC Premium Seafood Brands did a blind taste test  with portions of 3 commonly known fish, in addition to a portion of black cod (sablefish). The participants were typical Americans picked at random from the Midwest with no background in the food industry. We had professional chefs prepare the fish to the best of their abilities.

In our first round, of the four fish, black cod placed fourth. We knew black cod was unfamiliar to most Americans, so we weren’t too surprised with the results. But we know black cod as an extraordinary fish–rich and buttery with a silky flavor, higher in Omega 3s than salmon.

In the second round, our chef figured out a better way to cook the black cod, finding a way to make its flavor stand out. With the adjustment, the black cod placed first with just about everyone.

Black cod is just starting to catch on in the United States, whereas in Asia it has been a premier fish for a long time. Our black cod, hook-and-line caught in the depths of the pristine waters off Southeast Alaska, is just about as good as it gets.

It must be noted that black cod is as rich and filling a fish we know of, so make small portions. Because they are so loaded with fats and oils, you don’t have to worry too much about overcooking, but follow the recipe below and you’ll be on your way to food nirvana.

This meal has become a Christmas tradition for one of our fishermen.

Sake-marinated black cod.
Sake-marinated black cod.

Sake-Marinated Black Cod Recipe

Serves 6

Ingredients

1/4 cup sake

1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

1/4 cup soy sauce

6 – 8 oz Alaska Gold black cod portions

mashed potatoes for serving (2 1/4 pounds)

1 pound sauteed bok choy

1 T toasted sesame seeds

1/3 cup green onions (1 inch bias cut)

3/4 cup orange miso sauce (1/2 cup miso paste, 1 tsp orange juice and honey)

Preparation

Orange Miso Sauce: Combine 1/2 cup miso paste, 1/4 cup cold water, 3 T. plus 1 tsp each: orange juice and honey and a large pinch togarashi seasoning. Whisk until smooth.

1. Whisk together sake, OJ and soy sauce. Marinate cod 3 hours in this mixture. Remove fish and drain well.

2. Broil cod until you get a brown glaze over the top. The fish should flake.

3. To serve: Portion 6 oz mashed potatoes in center of warmed plates. Flatten to a base for cod. Top with portion of bok choy, then cod fillet. Using 2 T. per plate, spoon orange miso sauce around potatoes and over top of fish. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions.

 

 

Copyright: fedorkondratenko / 123RF Stock Photo