Scrumptious Seafood: Maple Syrup-glazed Smoked Sablefish

This weekend we celebrated a friend’s birthday, and true to potluck fashion each guest brought a dish to share for the celebratory dinner. The one thing I have noticed about potlucks in our thirties vs potlucks in our twenties is that the food is good, people have a few extra dollars to spend, and most of us, at this point have honed our culinary skills a little bit, and like to share our own personal specialties. And in the end, we share a great meal. At this dinner, we were graced by the culinary genius of Butter on the Endive‘s chef, Owen Lightly, who is acquainted with the birthday boy.  He brought: raw BC coast oysters, sablefish in a shallot and bacon compote, and a smoked duck, beet and frisée salad. He blew us all out of the water.

That evening, I discovered how deliciously sablefish (also known as black cod) could be prepared. Here is a recipe from the Cannery Seafood House cookbook.

Maple Syrup-glazed Smoked Sablefish with Shallot Compote and Frisée Lettuce with Hazelnut Vinaigrette


  • 12oz/340g smoked sablefish
  • 1/2 cup/125 ml maple syrup
  • 1 tsp/5ml hazelnut oil
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar


  • 1 tsp/5 ml butter
  • 1 cup/250 ml sliced shallots
  • 1/2 cup ml Shiraz
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 6 Tbsp/ 90 ml ruby port


  • 1 1/2 tsp/7.5 ml Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp/15 ml red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp/45 ml hazelnut oil
  • 8 oz/225 g frisée lettuce (about 4 cups/1 L)
  • 2 Tbsp/30 ml fresh chervil for garnish

Sablefish: Cut sablefish into a 4 equal pieces and place in a bowl. Add 1/4 cup /60 ml of maple syrup and marinate for 4 hours in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C. Remove the sablefish from the marinade. Discard marinade. Place hazelnut oil in an ovenproof frying pan, add sablefish and bake in the oven for 10 – 12 minutes, until cooked. While fish is cooking, prepare the compote and salad.

Compote: Melt butter in a saucepan on medium heat and sauté shallots and wine for 4 minutes, until reduced to one quarter. Add thyme and port, then reduce to half, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Salad: In a bowl, combine Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar and salt and  pepper to taste. Mix well, then slowly add the hazelnut oil. Place lettuce in a bowl and add vinaigrette. Toss gently, then season to taste with freshly ground pepper.

To serve: Divide salad among serving plates and sprinkle with chervil. Remove fish from the oven and place a piece on top of the salad on each serving. Place the frying pan in which you cooked the fish on low heat. Ad the remaining maple syrup and cook for 4 minutes. Add sherry vinegar, deglaze the pan and cook until reduced to half. Remove sauce from the heat, then pour over the fish. Serve the shallot comport in a bowl on the side.

Serves 4

Source: Frédéric Couton’s The Cannery Seafood House Cookbook


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