Market Name: Sablefish
Scientific Name: Anoplopoma fimbria
Common Name: Sable, black cod, Alaska cod, butterfish, coalfish, skilfish
Flavor: Mild/Moderate
Texture: Medium

Sablefish, thus known because of its black, almost furry skin, is also commonly called black cod, though it is not in the cod family. It is also called butterfish in reference to its melt-in-your-mouth, oil-rich meat. The oil makes sablefish an excellent species for smoking, a treatment relished by the early Makah Indians on the Northwest coast, who smoked the fish over green wood. Sablefish is caught in deep water along the Pacific Coast from Alaska to southern California by trawls, longlines and traps. It is most abundant off northern British Columbia and in the Gulf of Alaska. Some say longlines and traps produce the best-quality sablefish. As a general rule, the larger the sablefish, the better the quality. Though most sablefish has traditionally gone to Japan, where demand and prices are high, an increasing amount is finding its way into the domestic market as U.S. consumers learn to enjoy the unique, buttery flavor.

Product Profile:
Sablefish meat has a high fat content, which gives it a rich though fairly mild flavor. It has a distinctive taste all its own. Its high oil content also gives sablefish a soft, velvety texture. The flesh has large, white flakes and is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Because of its high oil content, sablefish has a short shelf life and must be handled with care.

You Should Know:
Sablefish prices typically drop with latitude. The highest-priced product comes from Alaska. The least expensive product comes from California, near the southern end of the species’ range, where the fish are smaller.

Cooking Tips:
Because it is so rich, sablefish can benefit from salty or acidic flavorings to cut the natural oils. Ginger and soy sauce are good complements. A popular preparation of sablefish in Japan is Sake Kasu, in which sablefish is marinated in a sake-based paste and then grilled. The meat is excellent for barbecuing, as it browns nicely and stays moist and tender. It’s also a good candidate for smoking.

Cooking Methods: Bake,Broil,Grill,Saute',Smoke,Steam

Substitutions: Chilean sea bass, Escolar, Salmon

Primary Product Forms:
Fresh: H&G, Fillets (pinbone-in), Steaks
Frozen: H&G
Value-Added: Smoked

Global Supply: