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Pan Seared Sablefish (Black Cod) with White Wine Tomatoes

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This pan seared sablefish recipe is done completely on the stovetop! A simple preparation served with a simple side dish (or sauce!) of cherry tomatoes and shallots in 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 is surprisingly good! Sablefish recipes can be hard to come, especially ones that pair it with the proper amount of acidity. Since this 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!

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

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. The second time i made this sablefish recipe I added mushrooms alongside the tomatoes, and topped the dish with lemon zest and fresh green onions from our garden. Delish!

Sablefish is found in very deep waters and can have limited distribution. It's known for it's rich, butter flavor and can be very difficult to overcook because of it's higher fat content. If you want to try this recipe, but can't find sablefish filets, here are a few substitutions for sablefish:

  • 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: Whatever you do, don't Google what a Monkfish looks like. I promise it's delicious!
  • Sea Bass: Chilean Seabass is probably the most similar to Sablefish all around.
  • Cod or Haddock: The mild, meaty filets are a great sub.
  • Halibut: Halibut is similar is flavor, but much leaner. You may want to add some extra fat (butter) to the dish to compensate.
Pan Seared Sablefish Recipe

Pan Seared Sablefish (Black Cod) with White Wine Tomatoes

Yield: 2-3 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 teaspoon avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1 pound sablefish, cut into individual 3-4 ounce servings
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon avocado oil
  • 8 ounces grape tomatoes
  • ½ small shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup white wine
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste


1. Add avocado oil to large nonstick skillet. Heat oil on medium-high heat.

2. Rinse each piece of fish dry with cold water, then pat fish dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. 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.

Add avocado oil to large nonstick skillet. Heat oil on medium-high heat.

3. Add fish fillets skin-side down to pan and sear for 4-5 minutes until skin crisps and turns golden brown.

4. Carefully flip the fish (a fish spatula or slotted spoon helps), and sear for 2-3 minutes on the flesh side.

5. Remove fish from skillet and allow to rest on a plate.

6. To the same skillet, add avocado oil. As the oil heats, scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any remaining bits of fish. 

7. Add grape tomatoes to skillet. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until tomatoes begin to soften.

8. Add shallots and garlic, sauté for an additional 1 minute. Watch the garlic. It should not burn. If it is starting to turn brown, move quickly to the next step. 

9. 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. 

10. Simmer for 5-7 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced by at least a half.

11. 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 few spoonfuls of the white wine sauce over the fish before serving. 

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