As described in our September newsletter, Vital Choice hosted an intimate tour of southeast Alaska in August of this year, aboard Captain Dennis Rogers’ 60-foot boat, M/V Alaska Adventurer. Our guests included best-selling author/physician/nutritionist Andrew Weil M.D., and famed Monterey area chef and restauranteur John Pisto.
One day, Dennis pulled alongside a small commercial boat harvesting sablefish with long trolling lines. This deep-water species—also known as butterfish or black cod—is little known in the U.S. In fact, sablefish is only found here as a rare offering at gourmet restaurants, or in Jewish delicatessens, where smoked sablefish remains a beloved reminder of European culinary roots. Currently, the vast majority of Alaskan sablefish catch goes to the sophisticated Japanese market, which prizes the fish very highly.
When he was finished hauling in his line, the captain of the troller kindly tossed us a couple of his fresh-caught sablefish, which Chef Pisto cooked for the gang. After 20 years as Alaskan fishermen, my partner Dave Hamburg and I were both familiar with sablefish, so we weren’t really surprised by the astonished, ecstatic reactions to this rare treat. Indeed, our guests pleaded with us to carry sablefish at VitalChoice.com to satisfy their new-found culinary addiction!
The fish that melts in your mouth and blows your mind
Sablefish is a distinctive species marked by a sleek dark skin and pearly white flesh. Thanks to its high oil content, sablefish offers up to 50 percent more omega-3s per serving than salmon. Its smooth luxurious texture and rich, velvety taste give sablefish a unique palate appeal much sought after by those in the know.
One of our customers may have described it best: “Wow Randy, that sablefish is amazing. I have never tasted anything so good. It's like the fish version of chocolate … this is pretty incredible.”
By way of comparison, each 3.5 ounce cooked serving of our Alaskan sockeye contains at least 1.2 grams of omega-3s, while a 3.5 oz. cooked serving of sablefish contains about 1.9 grams—a whopping 58 percent more omega-3s.
Vital Choice sablefish is harvested sustainably from the deepest, coldest waters of Southeast Alaska. According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, “There’s no evidence of substantial bycatch or habitat damage from sablefish fishing. Alaska and British Columbia sablefish are a "Best Choice" because the populations are abundant and the fisheries are well managed.”
Our Alaskan Sablefish steaks are 4 oz., bone-in, skin-on portions. We are very pleased to be able to offer you this wonderful, hard-to-find culinary treat.
The high oil content of sablefish make amazingly versatile, and ideal for preparations requiring fast, high heat—such as grilling, roasting, broiling and pan-searing. However, it can also stand up to long, slow preparations, such as braising, without losing its texture.
You can simply season sablefish with salt, pepper and a favorite herb, and then sprinkle it with lemon juice and microwave. Or, you can sauté it and serve sablefish with wine butter sauce. Sablefish can also be marinated, then grilled or broiled. It can also, of course, be baked, poached, steamed or stir-fried.
- Bake: Place sablefish in a greased baking dish and place on a baking sheet. Brush with melted butter or oil and season with salt and pepper, cover with a sauce, or wrap in oiled foil. Bake in a preheated 450°F oven until done, about 10 minutes per inch of thickness of the fish.
- Grill: Place fillets over perforated foil on the grill, 4 to 6 inches above prepared coals or fire. Baste with butter, oil, or marinade and close hood of grill. Cook until fish is opaque and moist on the inside, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Broil: Place seasoned and/or marinated sablefish on a well-greased broiler pan. Broil under a preheated broiler 4 to 5 inches from heat. Cook until opaque and moist on the inside, 6 to 10 minutes.
- Pan-fry: Dredge sablefish steaks or fillets with seasoned flour, crumbs, or cornmeal. Shake off any extra coating and fry in a small amount of hot butter or oil, turning once halfway through cooking time. Cook until fish is opaque and moist on the inside, 4 to 8 minutes.
- Poach: Bring poaching liquid, consisting of water, broth, and herbs and spices, to a simmer. Slip in sablefish, then cover pan and keep the liquid at a simmer for about 8 minutes per inch of thickness of the fish.
- Steam: Place sablefish on a greased perforated rack over 1 to 2 inches of rapidly boiling water. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and keep water at a constant boil through cooking time, 8 to 10 minutes per inch thickness of the fish.