Black cod: Searing rather than shmearing

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By Carole Lampel Mantel

Did you know that black cod and sablefish are one and the same? I didn’t realize there was any other way to eat sablefish other than smoked and on a bagel. Then a fishmonger encouraged me to try black cod, explaining that it is a white fish but not a member of the cod family. It is also known as butterfish and is often described as a cousin to the Chilean sea bass.


Its high fat content gives black cod a silky texture and rich, buttery flavor, but the fish also has a high omega-3 content, making it super healthy.

I often make this recipe with Chilean sea bass instead of black cod and serve it over “zoodles” (zucchini noodles) in place of pasta for a carb-free meal. I love that the olives and capers bring out the flavors without adding salt.

For Shabbat, I tested this recipe with black cod and, even though I forgot the Kalamata olives, we enjoyed every bite. I’m so glad I listened to the fishmonger!

I challenge you to try searing black cod — versus shmearing it on a bagel — with this easy recipe.

Seared black cod
Seared black cod (Carole Lampel Mantel)

Seared black cod

Serves 2

  • 16 ounces raw black cod (yields two cooked 7-ounce portions)
  • 10 black Kalamata olives
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra dry vermouth
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth (or water, for a dairy meal)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Heat olive oil in a pan.

Sear fish for 2-3 minutes.

Turn fish, season with pepper, then add garlic and capers.

After 2-3 minutes, add the extra dry vermouth followed by the chicken broth and cover.

Simmer for another 2-3 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.

Serve over zucchini noodles, pasta or with your favorite vegetable.

Carole Lampel Mantel is an independent health coach and home chef. She can be reached at darbypaw@aol.com. This originally ran in the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle.

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