the many delights of sablefish
If I had to vote for "tastiest fish ever", I would totally vote for sablefish. They are ugly (which probably explains why they're never sold whole in retail shops) but boy do they ever taste good. And not only that, but they're soooo easy to cook. The flesh is firm, flaky and slightly oily/moist (like halibut, but without the possibility of dryness) but it has way more flavour than halibut or cod or other white fish. It's not an intense flavour like salmon or tuna though.
But I digress. Our meal last night consisted of soba noodles, blanched chard (it's getting a bit tough and chewy for the steam-treatment) and a thoroughly tasty little bit of sablefish:
2 small (3-oz) fillets of sablefish
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp sambal oelek (or more, if yours isn't that zingy)
1 tbsp soy sauce
chinese cooking wine
Preheat the oven to 400F, and put a small skillet (big enough to hold the 2 pieces of fish) on a medium burner to heat up. Score the skin of the fish so it doesn't go all curly when it starts cooking, and rub the skin side with sesame oil. Combine the maple syrup, sambal and soy sauce in a small bowl.
When the pan is hot enough, place the fillets in skin side down. Brush the tops with the maple stuff, a couple of times until they're nice and slathered. Sablefish is a bit absorbent so you'll see the glaze seep in a bit.
Cook on the stovetop for about 3-5 minutes, until the glaze bits that drip off start to look like they might want to begin burning. Splash a little chinese cooking wine into the skillet to prevent that, brush the fish again with the glaze, and throw the pan into the preheated oven for 6-8 minutes. If you forget and they're in there longer, don't worry. It's virtually impossible to overcook sablefish (one of its many virtues).
Check fish for doneness (should flake easily with the point of a knife). If it's done, remove it from the pan, put the pan back on the stovetop, and turn up the heat. There will be stickies. Throw a bit more cooking wine in before they start to burn and reduce until you've got a wee bit of a sauce. Toss in any of the glaze that's left.
Serve on a green vegetable and brown rice or soba. Yummmmmeeeeeee.