Sablefish? Black Cod? Both?
Most people refer to sablefish as "black cod," though we have many customers in Hawaii, southern California, and even the East Coast who call it butterfish because of its rich flavor. Though the popular Alaskan fish goes by many names, its true name is sablefish and it isn’t technically a cod. Historically, all fish were considered cod, which is where the black cod name originates. Lingcod also is technically not a cod, but a lingcod is a lingcod to anybody living by the sea.
Sablefish live at depths of more than 2 miles! Or, as fishermen say, depths greater than 1500 fathoms. Sablefish eat nutrient-dense fish like pollock, capelin, herring, echelon, candle-fish, Pacific cod, jellyfish, and squids. The inner lining of a sablefish’s stomach includes a jet-black film. This film is a defense mechanism that protects the sablefish from predators. Because some of the natural food that sablefish eat contains bioluminescence, their stomachs would light up and attract other fish in the dark depths of the ocean without this thick jet-black film.
Until the late 1990s, sablefish weren't popular among western consumers. Almost all Alaskan sablefish went to Japan where it was, and still is, considered a delicacy. Recently, restaurant chefs and home chefs around the country have discovered that sablefish is rich in flavor and a joy to cook.
Whatever you call it and just about however you cook it, sablefish is a delicacy. Its richness makes it very forgiving to cook and difficult to overcook. That richness will also warm your belly.
Sablefish Straight from the Source
Our Alaska Gold sablefish comes from a fishermen-owned cooperative. Buying from our co-op is the best way to get wild-caught sablefish straight from the source. Our Alaska Gold quality comes from our fishermen's commitment to producing the best wild-caught seafood. Our fishermen take care to clean and ice their sablefish quickly after being caught to lock in freshness.
Sablefish roam throughout the North Pacific and travel as far south as California. Alaskan sablefish are special because they tend to be richer, possibly due to cooler waters. Alaskan sablefish is also a sustainable choice of seafood. Alaska's state constitution includes the sustainable yield principle, ensuring that the Alaskan sablefish population remains healthy. Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program considers our sablefish is also considered a “Green Choice."
See what’s special about the unique place where we fish and see one of our fishermen talk about what’s special about fishing for sablefish in this video.
Many people know that wild salmon is a rich source of Omega-3, but fewer know that sablefish has even more Omega-3. Omega-3 fatty acids are heart-healthy--they’re associated with a significant reduction in coronary artery diseases and improved brain cell integrity. On average, sablefish contains 1.8 grams of Omega-3s per 100-gram serving versus 1.3 grams for wild king salmon. A 6-ounce portion of sablefish also has 90% of the daily recommended vitamin D. That's huge for immune boosting!
Cooking our Sablefish
For those in the know, sablefish is a great delicacy. Chef Kevin Lane from The Cookery in Seward, Alaska says, "Alaska sablefish is a staple on our menu. Its unctuous, fat-rich quality is well deserving of the term 'sea butter.'" Our customers grill it, fry it, bake it and even make it into ceviche. Smoked black cod is also truly wonderful.
One recipe that gets frequent praise is this Miso-Marinated Black Cod Recipe -- a variation on a classic recipe made famous by Nobu’s Kitchen. The mild sweetness of the miso marinade complements the black cod's rich flavor. Sablefish works best with a salty and sweet marinade. Try our Honey Black Cod recipe for another delicious salty and sweet recipe. Don't be afraid to cook your sablefish on high. 10 minutes at 485° F works really well.
However you prepare our Alaska Gold Sablefish, know that it is a very rich, oily fish. It is very forgiving and difficult to overcook. With its heart-healthy omega-3s and vitamin D, sablefish is a superfood. With its rich, decadent flavor and velvety, flaky texture, it is a delicacy. Enjoy!