Olive Oil Poached Sablefish

Photo & recipe: Karla Dudley

It has a smooth, velvety texture and large, yet delicate, flakes with a rich, satiny sweet, buttery taste… sablefish. It’s also known as black cod and when poached in a fruity olive oil, it is a perfect date night dinner meant to impress. Sablefish is a deep cold-water fish, which makes it a wonderfully fatty yet mild treat. Poached at an unusually low temperature creates a depth of flavour that is unattainable otherwise. Show off your knife skills and serve with a melange of artfully diced steamed vegetables and a swirl of potato or cauliflower puree and you will have a date night dinner success.


2½ pounds sablefish fillets, at least 1-inch thick (it will expand when cooking)

1 large lemon, thinly sliced crosswise
¼ cup fresh lemon thyme
½ cup Marcona almonds, roughly chopped
2 cups extra virgin olive oil (a fruity green oil is best)
Sea salt to taste (about 3 teaspoons)
Freshly ground black pepper (about ½ teaspoon)


Preheat the oven to 250° F.

Sprinkle the fish with the salt and pepper, allowing it to sit for a few minutes at room temperature.

Place half of the lemon slices in an 8-inch glass baking dish.

Sprinkle half of the thyme over the lemon.

Arrange the fish in one layer on top of the lemon and thyme, and top with the remaining thyme, lemon and the chopped almonds.

Pour the olive oil into the dish, making sure not to knock the toppings off the fish.

Bake until the fish is cooked through and flaky, check every 10 minutes after 45 minutes in the oven – depending on the thickness of the fillet it could take 45 minutes to over an hour. (Remember, you are cooking low and slow)

For a unique pairing experience try this recipe paired with a Pumpkin Ale.