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November, 2008

Pan Seared Ginger Miso Alaskan Black Cod with Cucumber and Daikon Sesame Seed Salad

By Heidi Allison

Black Cod, also known as Sablefish, is the new "it" fish. This rapidly rising star makes its appearance at the acclaimed BLT restaurants in their fish dish extraordinaire-- Black Cod Marinated with Acacia Honey, while the signature dish, Alaskan Black Cod with Ginger Lime Sauce, put Lemon Grass restaurant on the map.

Miso Marinade
The high fat content of this fish which lives in icy cold depths (735 -1100 feet) creates a succulent, melt-in-your-mouth texture that rivals Chilean sea bass or wild Alaskan King salmon—but at a fraction of the cost! While wild-caught Alaskan King Salmon is commanding up to $44.00 per pound, a black cod fillet runs in the range of $12.00-$16.00 per pound.

Another good reason to add Black Cod to your fish dish repertoire is that it provides significant health benefits that match wild Alaskan salmon --- not only is it an excellent source of high quality protein, it also provides comparable, if not greater heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids per serving (1800 mg for Black Cod; 1700 mg for Alaskan King Salmon; Sockeye Salmon 1200mg; Coho Salmon 1100 mg; Keta Salmon 800 mg and Pink Salmon 1300mg). This amazing fish is also an excellent source of selenium, niacin and vitamin B12., and supplies iodine, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc and calcium which support

In this dish, the black cod is quickly marinated in a ginger–infused miso paste, which creates a subtle, caramelized crust and exquisite golden yellow color in the finished dish. It’s a new twist on the traditional Japanese way of preparing fish since liberal amounts of ginger and a bit of soy sauce has been added to the marinade. This not only changes the flavor profile but cuts the marinating time from 24 hours to 30 minutes to 1 hour. Paired with a light and refreshing cucumber salad, this is a heart-healthy meal you can serve even on a busy week night that even the kids will love!

Miso Marinade
(serves 4) 4 (6-8 oz.) black cod fillets

Miso Marinade
¼ cup white (Shiro) miso
¼ cup mirin
2 Tbsp. unseasoned rice wine vinegar
1Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp. green onion, minced (about 1 bunch, white part only)
1 ½ Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/8 tsp. white sugar

Remove any pin bones from the black cod. Rinse the fish under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Place the miso, mirin, rice wine vinegar, sesame seed oil, green onion, ginger, sugar and soy sauce in a medium bowl and whisk until combined and lump-free. Place black cod in a baking dish and pour marinade over fish. Turn several times to coat and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour (up to 4 hours).

Heat a medium-sized, nonstick pan on medium heat until hot. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Wipe excess marinade off the black cod with your fingers and gently place it into the heated skillet. Sauté until golden brown and a crust has formed—about 4 minutes. Turn the fish over using a fish spatula and cook the other side until a crust had formed—about 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and arrange cucumber salad next to the fish. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the cucumber salad and serve immediately.

Cucumber and Daikon Salad with Sesame Seeds

4 Organic cucumbers (not waxed)
1/ 3 pound daikon radish, peeled and cut into ¼-inch julienne and soaked in cold water
1/3 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds

Cut the ends off the cucumbers and slice into ¼-inch slices and add to a medium-sized bowl. Drain the daikon and gently squeeze out any excess moisture and gently toss with the cucumbers. Pour rice wine vinegar over vegetables and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Notes from the Author:
Fresh black cod is very perishable—make sure you cover it with ice or a frozen food item when you take it home from the market.