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Sablefish with Asian Flavors and Fresh Herb Salad (Photo © Stephen Peck)

Sablefish with Asian Flavors and Fresh Herb Salad

Sustainable Seafood Recipe

Succulent sablefish is especially delicious when enclosed in a parchment package with fresh ginger, aromatic lemongrass and exotic mushrooms. This results in a delicate texture and infuses the fish with the flavors of Southeast Asia. Serve with jasmine rice and a peppery herb salad. The fish packages can be assembled a few hours ahead and refrigerated. Simply bake right before serving.

For dessert try fresh fruit salad with a spiced syrup made by simmering fresh spices such as star anise pods or cinnamon sticks in a syrup of equal parts sugar and water for 10 minutes.

Seafood Watch recommends wild-caught sablefish from Alaska and British Columbia as a "Best Choice."

  • (Serves 4)


  • 4, 16-inch-long sheets parchment paper
  • 7 ounces (2, 3 1/2-ounce packages) shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced; or beech mushrooms, trimmed
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed with side of knife and peeled
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon grass stalk, tough outer layers removed, tender part thinly sliced
  • 4 Thai chiles or 2 serrano chiles, halved lengthwise
  • 2, 12-ounce skinned sablefish fillets, each cut along the backbone into 2 pieces, bones discarded
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons Asian fish sauce such as nauc nam (optional)
  • 1-inch-long knob ginger, peeled
  • 1/2-inch-long knob ginger, peeled, thinly sliced, then cut into thin strips
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 4 cilantro sprigs
  • Peel of 1 lemon, removed with vegetable peeler
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons chilled butter
  • 4, 18-inch long sheets foil

Herb Salad

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallot
  • 1 lemon grass stalk, tough outer layers removed, 3/4 -inch of tender part minced
  • Coarse kosher salt and ground white pepper
  • 10 ounces baby arugula or 1 large bunch mizuna, mustard greens or dandelion, cut into large bite-sized pieces (about 6 cups)
  • 4 small carrots, thinly sliced on diagonal
  • 1 bunch chives, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • Cooked jasmine or basmati rice

For the Sablefish
Preheat the oven to 375° F. Place the parchment paper sheets on your work surface. Divide mushrooms, garlic cloves, shallot, lemon grass slices and chiles among the paper sheets, arranging them down the center. Place 1 fish piece atop each.

Drizzle the soy and fish sauces over the fish, dividing equally. Grate the 1-inch ginger knob into a small bowl. Pick up the gratings and squeeze over the fish, dividing equally. Divide the ginger strips, pepper flakes, cilantro and lemon peel among the packages. Sprinkle with salt. Slice the butter and distribute atop everything.

Bring the two long sides of parchment together atop the fish and fold down towards the fish. Fold in the ends. Wrap each package in foil. Place the packets on a baking sheet.

Bake the fish for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand 5 minutes.

For the Salad
Combine the oil, lemon juice and zest, soy sauce, shallot and lemon grass in a salad bowl. Whisk to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add arugula, carrots, chives and cilantro and toss to blend. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Remove the foil from the fish packets and place one packet on each plate. Arrange the salad along side the fish and serve immediately, passing the rice separately.

Hint from the Chef

  • Because sablefish is very tender, handle it carefully during cooking. There is a ridge of bones down the back. These can be removed by cutting fillets in half lengthwise along the bones—try this yourself, or ask the fishmonger to do it for you. Another choice: cook with the bones in and eat carefully!

Casey Thompson
Casey Thompson, Brownstone, Fort Worth, Texas

Best Choice Sablefish


Seafood Watch recommends wild-caught sablefish from Alaska and British Columbia as a "Best Choice." The Alaska sablefish fishery is also certified as sustainable to the standard of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Wild-caught sablefish from California, Oregon and Washington are considered a "Good Alternative."
iPhone Our app brings you up-to-date recommendations for ocean-friendly seafood and sushi. And the newest version, with Project FishMap, lets you share the locations of restaurants and markets where you've found sustainable seafood. As the map grows, you'll also be able to see what others have found near you.

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