This sleek fish is found in the deep, cold waters of the Pacific ranging from Japan to the Bering Sea and south through Alaska and British Columbia to Mexico.
With dark brown to black sides and top and a pale coloured belly, sablefish are commonly called blackcod although they do not belong to the codfish family. Sablefish has become very popular as responsible chefs have adopted it as an alternative to the Chilean sea bass (also known as Patagonian toothfish) which is often illegally harvested from the severely depleted stocks found in the international waters off of Chile and Argentina. In B.C., the longline- and trap-based sablefish harvest is managed jointly by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Sablefish Association which together conduct research, perform stock assessments and provide enforcement that have rebuilt sablefish populations to levels that support a sustainable fishery. An ideal source of Omega-3 fatty acids, sablefish with its pearly white and soft-textured flesh and rich and buttery flavour is considered a delicacy by chefs.
Chef Ned Bell of Vancouver's Yew Restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel on sablefish:
How to Prepare This recipe was developed for Super Bowl XLVI as a chowder that subs in sablefish for clams. Start by sautéing one cup (250 mL) of diced white onions and one cup (250 mL) of fennel in butter for five minutes. Add two cloves of minced garlic and let sit for one minute. Then add one-quarter cup (60 mL) of flour and stir. Add two cups (500 mL) of apple juice and two cups (500 mL) of beer (I recommend Driftwood Brewery's Farmhand Ale). Add four cups (one liter) of whole milk, two cups (500 mL) of diced Yukon gold potatoes, one cup (250 mL) of corn kernels and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes. Add two cups (500 mL) of diced sablefish and cook for five minutes. Stir in one cup (250 mL) of diced granny smith apples and garnish with chopped chives. Serve with dehydrated apples on the side. Enjoy!