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Pan Seared Sablefish (Black Cod) with White Wine Tomatoes

This pan seared sablefish recipe is done completely on the stovetop! A simple preparation served with a simple side dish (or pour over sauce) of cherry tomatoes, shallots and white wine.

Turn the clock back to this time last year, and I didn't even know sablefish existed! Sablefish (or Black Cod) is a fatty, flaky white fish. It's new to me, but we love cooking with it.

No lie - 30 minutes and we were eating a restaurant quality meal. Baked potato and steamed broccoli on the side. Give it a try.


Sablefish recipes can be hard to come, especially ones that pair it with the proper amount of acidity.

Since sablefish is a rich, fatty fish, I enjoy it most when paired with a good amount of acid, whether it be wine, lemon juice or vinegar! The acid helps balance the fattiness of the fish.

"This was outstanding! And so easy to make. I recently received sablefish from Butcher Box and picked a recipe from Blackberry Babe. I hope Butcher Box lets me order an entire box full of sablefish because I intend to make this regularly. #sogood #lowcarb #delicious"


Other than being crazy delicious, what I love most about this sablefish recipe is that it's made entirely in one large skillet!

How to Make Pan Seared Sablefish with White Wine Tomatoes

  • First, you will cook the fish fillets first with a quick sear. Your goal is for a golden-brown crust to form on each side of the fish!
  • Then, you place fish on a plate to rest while you use the same skillet to work up the tomatoes.
  • To finish the dish, use the same pan! I used fresh yellow grape tomatoes from our garden, but you can use any variety that you can find at the store.
  • Allow the tomatoes, shallots and garlic to reduce down along with the white wine. If your tomatoes are being a bit slow to cook down, you can always poke them with a fork or a knife to speed up the process.

You can add additional vegetables to this dish if desired.

I recommend adding mushrooms alongside the tomatoes. I love to add lemon zest and fresh green onions from our garden as well, towards the end of cooking. Delish!

Sablefish is found in very deep waters and can have limited distribution. It's known for its rich, buttery flavor.

I love sablefish because its high fat content makes it VERY difficult to overcook. It can be absolutely falling apart, and still be moist!

Substitutions for Sablefish:

If you want to try this recipe, but can't find sablefish, here are a few substitution suggestions:

  • Salmon: Salmon is not exactly the same in flavor profile, but it's very similar in texture. You have to love those fatty acids.
  • Monkfish: Monkfish is nice and fatty, and similar in texture to sablefish. But, whatever you do, don't Google what a Monkfish looks like. It's one ugly fish!
  • Sea Bass: Chilean Seabass is probably the most similar to Sablefish all around.
  • Cod or Haddock: The mild, meaty filets are a great substitute.
  • Halibut: Halibut is similar is flavor, but much leaner. You may want to add some extra fat (like butter) to the dish to compensate.

If you love this recipe, I think you'll also enjoy my Pan Seared Cod with Tarragon Cream Sauce recipe!


Pan Seared Sablefish Recipe

Pan Seared Sablefish (Black Cod) with White Wine Tomatoes

Yield: 3-4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
This pan seared sablefish recipe is done completely on the stovetop! A simple preparation served with a simple side dish (or pour over sauce) of cherry tomatoes, shallots and white wine.


  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil, divided

For the fish:

  • 1 pound sablefish, cut into 3-4 individual filets
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper

For the wine braised tomatoes:

  • 8 ounces grape tomatoes
  • ½ small shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced


  1. Rinse each piece of fish with cold water, then pat fish dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
  2. Season both sides of the fish with salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Allow fish fillets to come to room temperature (about 20 minutes), if time allows.
  3. Add 2 teaspoons of avocado oil to large nonstick skillet. Heat oil on medium-high heat.
  4. Add fish fillets skin-side down to pan and sear for 4-5 minutes until skin crisps and turns golden brown.
  5. Carefully flip the fish and sear for 2-3 minutes on the fleshy side of the filet.
  6. Remove fish from skillet and allow to rest on a plate.
  7. To the same skillet, add 1 teaspoon of oil and adjust burner to medium heat.
  8. As the oil heats, scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any remaining bits of fish. 
  9. Add grape tomatoes and shallots to skillet. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until tomatoes begin to soften. You may want to prick the larger tomatoes with a fork to help speed their cooking time.
  10. Add garlic and sauté for an additional 30 seconds. Watch the garlic. It should not burn. If it is starting to turn brown, move quickly to the next step. 
  11. Add white wine and chicken broth to the skillet. Scrape the bottom of the pan again to loosen any bits that are stuck. Allow the liquid to come to a simmer. 
  12. Simmer for 5-7 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced by at least a half and the tomatoes are wilted. Add fresh herbs right before serving.
  13. To serve, you can pour the grape tomatoes and white wine reduction directly over the fish or serve it on the side. If serving the tomatoes on the side, spoon a bit of the white wine sauce over the fish before serving. 


If you don't have fresh thyme, substitute with a teaspoon of dried thyme. Fresh basil, rosemary or Italian parsley make great subs as well.

Nutrition Information
Yield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 636Total Fat 44gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 27gCholesterol 154mgSodium 324mgCarbohydrates 5gFiber 1gSugar 3gProtein 43g

The nutrition for this recipe is calculated by an app and may be incorrect.

Did you make this recipe?

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Thursday 19th of January 2023

Too tart...I used vinegar as I had no wine...don't know if that was the difference..will try again using half cup each broth and the vinegar....

Michelle Goth

Friday 27th of January 2023

Hello Frauden! Yes, substituting white wine vinegar would make it exceptionally tart. The level of acidity in vinegar is quite a bit higher than wine. If you don't have white wine to use in the future, chicken broth is a good substitute!


Sunday 13th of November 2022

This was my first time cooking this fish. The fish was buttery and mild and the sauce added the right amount of flavor to the side of rive. Thanks for sharing


Tuesday 20th of September 2022

Wow! This was wonderful! I didn’t have grape tomatoes, so I just chopped up a Roma tomato instead. Also added fresh spinach to wilt in as the onions and tomatoes sautéed. Added a little pepper to the sauté mix as well. Will definitely make this again. One of the best fish recipes I’ve made in quite a while.

Michelle Goth

Wednesday 21st of September 2022

Carole, you made my day! Thank you for letting me know, so glad you enjoyed the recipe!

Wayne True

Thursday 1st of September 2022

It was excellent, quick meal, few ingredients, very tasty. I did add mushrooms as suggested. Used a Bogle brand Pinot Grigio white wine that was perfect for the recipe. Next time may add some lemon rind, or a Trader Joe’s Lemon Pepper. Leftovers heated up very well the next day, made it in to a stir fry with additional veggies.

Michelle Goth

Thursday 1st of September 2022

Wayne- So glad you enjoyed it! I agree that lemon rind would be a great addition.

Lori T

Tuesday 28th of June 2022

Excellent-will definitely make again and try adding extra stuff: capers?

Michelle Goth

Thursday 7th of July 2022

Capers would be DELISH! Great idea.

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