Cookbook Profile

Sablefish with
Strawberry Balsamic Sauce


Sablefish with Strawberry Balsamic Sauce Combine the jewel-tones of ripe strawberries and ruby balsamic vinegar, add an accent note of black pepper, and you've composed a symphony of flavors that harmonize perfectly with elegant sablefish. "Pretty as a picture" is what we hope you'll say. If sablefish (also known as black cod) isn't available, don't postpone your culinary concert. Less noble, but equally delicious stand-ins are halibut, orange roughy, or Chilean sea bass.

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Yield: 4 servings


1-1/2 pounds sable fish fillet about 1-inch thick
4 teaspoons Searing Paste
1 teaspoon toasted unhulled sesame seeds (optional)
1/2 cup Strawberry Balsamic Sauce
4 strawberries, stemmed and thinly sliced
Fresh flat leaf parsley or mint sprigs for garnish


1. Rinse fish and pat dry. Divide fish into 2 portions, then carefully cut portions horizontally into 1/2 inch thickness, creating 4 portions. (Note: We prefer the flavor of these thinner portions. If, instead, you wish to cook inch thick portions, increase top-of-stove cooking time or finish cooking in a preheated 425 degree oven.)

2. Use a small, flexible spatula to spread a thin coating of Searing Paste on the top and bottom surfaces of the fish (about 1/2 teaspoon of the Searing Paste for each surface).

3. Preheat a large, heavy skillet or nonstick griddle on medium-high heat. Add fish; gently press each portion to assure good contact with the heating surface. Cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes, turn with a slotted flat spatula, and cook second side until golden brown, about 2 minutes.

4. Place fish on warm dinner plates and sprinkle each with sesame seeds. Spoon a tablespoon of warm Strawberry Balsamic Sauce on each. Garnish with sliced berries and parsley. Pass additional sauce.


Strawberry Balsamic Sauce

Yield: 1/2 cup

1/2 cup finely chopped strawberries
2 tablespoons finely diced red onions
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (preferably aged)
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


1. In a 2 cup glass measuring pitcher or other microwaveable container, combine the strawberries, onion, vinegar, water, and pepper. Heat, uncovered, on high power for 2 minutes. Stir, and heat for an additional 1 to 2 minutes until onions are softened.

2. Using a fork, stir sauce and press fork tines against larger pieces of berries and onions to crush them. Stir in sugar and salt. Sauce may be made ahead and reheated before serving. Serve slightly warm, but not hot.

Refrigerate leftover Strawberry Balsamic Sauce for up to one week or freeze for up to one month. This sauce is also delicious served with grilled halibut, grilled salmon, boneless chicken breasts, or pork tenderloin. You may want to follow our recipe testers' recommendation and make a triple batch of the sauce to have on hand and to use the rest of a pint of berries.


Searing Paste

Here's one of our solutions for a golden brown crust on finfish without overcooking its delicate flesh and without deep-frying. We spread this paste on the surface right before adding the fish to the hot skillet. When you use this paste instead of adding fat or oil directly to the skillet, you eliminate excess fat and spattering. You may want to double the recipe and keep your stash at the ready in the refrigerator. Leave it at room temperature long enough to reach a spreadable consistency (or quickly zap it in the microwave, just a couple seconds on medium-high power).

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Yield: 1/4 cup (enough for 3 to 4 pounds fish)


2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; finely ground

Stir together all ingredients in a small container to form a smooth paste. Store leftovers, covered, in refrigerator. Use a flexible spatula to spread a thin coating on top and bottom surfaces of fish before pan-searing. Before applying the searing paste, dry fish with a paper towel so the paste will adhere.

Buy the Book!


Seafood Cooking For Dummies
By Leslie Beal Bloom and Marcie Ver Ploeg
IDG Books Worldwide
Paperback, $19.99
ISBN: 0-7645-5177-9
Recipe reprinted by permission.


Seafood Cooking For Dummies



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This page created January 2000