19 December 2011

panko-crusted sablefish with black bean sauce

Part 2 of "When Is A Cod Not A Cod?"

Sablefish are a sleek, black-skinned fish from the cold, deep waters of the North Pacific, harvested on the west coast of Canada. Although commonly called “black cod,” this deep sea fish can live up to 5,000 feet (1,500 metres) below the sea. But it's not cod!

Sablefish is highly prized for an intensely rich, buttery flavour – hence the nickname “butterfish” – and for its fatty, delicate texture. It is considered a delicacy in many countries, and is somewhat similar to Chilean sea bass.

We're lucky to live near a historic fishing village where you can regularly buy fresh catch right off the boats. We often buy whole sablefish there. For this meal, I bypassed the boats and picked up some fillets at a trendy (and much more expensive) boutique fish monger in the city.

3 Sablefish fillets
Wheat flour
Panko breadcrumbs
Old Bay seasoning
1 Egg
3 Tsp Milk
Peanut oil

Black bean sauce
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 Tbsp. prepared Chinese black bean sauce or black bean garlic
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 thumb-size piece ginger, grated
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 red chili, minced
1 Tbsp. cornflour

Combine ingredients for black bean sauce and mix well. Heat sauce over low to medium heat, stirring constantly until sauce thickens. Set aside and reheat when serving.

Season sablefish with Old Bay seasoning. Beat egg and combine with milk. Dredge dry fillets in flour. Dip floured filets in egg and milk, then dredge in panko.

Heat peanut oil and add fish one at a time to pan, sautéing 2-3 minutes per side (or until lightly browned). Remove from heat and place on aluminum foil covered baking sheet. Place in oven to keep warm.

Prepare vegetable and side dish. For this meal, I stir fried Brussels sprouts in peanut oil with a few splashes of soy sauce and lemon juice. Served on brown rice.

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