Seafood: Cod, Black

Cod, Black

The black cod is unrelated to the wildly popular Alaskan cod, and is sold in the US under the only name allowed by the FDA, “sablefish.” It goes by numerous other names in other countries, which implies this fish is on the run from authorities and is trying to lay low for a while.

A deep swimmer, the black cod/sablefish is found in very deep and cold waters in the north Pacific and is known best for its mildly sweet but exceptional flavor. Considered a delicacy in many countries, the sablefish is very popular in Japan where it is sometimes served as sushi.

This fish can live to the ripe old age of 90 years or more, and is high in fat as well as long-chain omega fatty acids, similar to salmon. The flesh has been described as “pearly white” by some chefs, or simply “white” by others lacking imagination. The rich texture comes from the high fat content, and that makes this fish an unwise choice for ceviche, unless of course unwanted company arrives unexpectedly. It can be prepared in a number of ways including grilling, poaching, roasted, and even smoked.

This delicious fish is very high in protein. A one-third pound serving provides 26 grams of protein and almost that much in fat, and is considered an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Because it is so popular in Japan and other Asian countries, most sablefish is exported. When available, it will likely carry a hefty price tag as it is one of the highest prices per pound catches, with a market value ($100 million per year), third only to pollock and Pacific cod.

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Product descriptions are generously shared and created by CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) in San Francisco. CUESA is dedicated to cultivating a sustainable food system through the operation of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and its educational programs. Visit CUESA at