There is a famous proverb about cooking fish: “Fish, to taste good, must swim three times: in water, in butter, and in wine.”
Today, I defied this tradition by cooking a sablefish fillet without butter or wine. I tried to cook the fish with something new—plain yogurt.
Sablefish, scientifically known as “Anoplopoma fimbria” and commonly known as black cod, Alaskan cod, or butterfish, is a deep sea white-flesh fish famous for its flaky texture and mild flavor. To preserve the tender taste of the fish, I figured it might be a good idea to try a sauce base that does not contain a buttery or oily flavor, such as plain yogurt.
To compliment the natural taste of the sablefish, I used freshly diced celery and carrots along with unsalted pistachio seeds. I also used a little ground chicken to add some excitement 🙂
– One sablefish fillet (1/3 to ½ pound)
– One fresh lemon
– 1/3 cup of freshly diced celery
– 1/3 cup of freshly diced carrots
– 1/4 cup of unsalted pistachio seeds
– 1 to 2 cups of plain yogurt
– ½ to 1 cup of ground chicken (optional)
Cut the fresh lemon in half. Squeeze a little juice over the sablefish fillet. Unlike wine, a little fresh lemon juice would preserve and even add a little freshness to the mild taste of the sablefish.
(optional) Add the ground chicken to a heated pan. Cook over medium-high heat. When ready, temporarily store the cooked meat in a container.
Add the sablefish fillet to a heated pan, and turn heat to medium-low. Cook for about 5 minutes or when both sides turn golden brown.
Add celery, carrots, and pistachio seeds to the pan. Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes.
Add 1 to 2 cups of plain yogurt to the pan, mix with the celery, carrots, and pistachios. Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes.
(Optional) Add the cooked ground meat to the pan, and mix.
Place the yogurt-based mixed sauce on the plate, and add the fillet on top of the sauce. Ready to eat!
My experiment turned out to be quite delightful: the plain yogurt added moisture to the fillet’s texture, and celery and carrots permeated the yogurt sauce with a garden fresh taste—all have nicely preserved the tender flavor of the sablefish.
Another famous saying flashed over my mind: “Better to be happy with the cod fish in your plate now, than to linger for the taste of a tuna that is still swimming in the sea.”
I am happy with my black cod today. Perhaps next time, I’ll try something new for tuna.