Sablefish (black cod) is ideal for shallow frying in a pan — you get a nice crisp skin and golden brown edges. This is a quick, freewheeling take on a puttanesca sauce, constructed in the pan after the fish is cooked. With brininess from capers, acid from burst tomatoes, and fruity floral notes from Castelvetrano olives, it speaks to Mediterranean flavors melding together.
- One (8- to 12-ounce) portion sablefish (black cod)
- Fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon capers, salt packed or brined, rinsed and pat dry
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- ¼ cup pitted green olives, preferably Castelvetrano, roughly chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Couscous, for serving
- Chopped parsley, for garnish
Pat fish dry and cut into 2 equal pieces. Season generously with salt all over.
In a medium, nonstick skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the fish, skin-side down, and cook, pressing lightly with a spatula for 1 to 2 minutes, until the fish begins to lay flat when you lift the spatula. Lower the heat to medium, and cook until the skin is crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the fish and cook until the edges are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove fish from the pan and drain skin-side up on a paper towel-lined plate.
Cook capers, tomatoes, and olives
Wipe out the skillet. Add the olive oil and capers and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the capers are browned and crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until the skins begin to burst, about 7 minutes. Stir in the olives and crushed red pepper and cook until liquid is slightly reduced, about 1 minute.
Serve the fish, skin side up, with the couscous and tomato mixture alongside. Garnish with parsley.
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Michael Harlan Turkell
Michael Harlan Turkell, a once aspiring chef, is now an award-winning food photographer and writer. He has photographed many prominent chefs’ cookbooks, co-authored a few, and even wrote one of his own, "ACID TRIP: Travels in the Word of Vinegar". Turkell also hosted The Food Seen podcast on Heritage Radio Network for nearly a decade. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.