A Day of Fish, Wine and Skiing

Posted on January 23, 2012


Black Cod Tips Prepped for the Oven

I made it out on my downhill boards today and the snow was falling hard the whole time I was on the mountain. Each run was a freshy with crud chunks mixed in, and all in all a good day. I rode up with a woman who is preparing to go to Alta for a month. Today’s conditions were good enough that she expressed misgivings about going. I can see her point, when the skiing is good in Juneau you hate to waste a day, but still, I can’t help but feel a little envious that she is going to be at one of the highest elevation resorts with some of the driest snow in the country. It’s another place to dream about and research for another post.

Before heading to the mountain I pulled out a package of black cod tips from the freezer for dinner that our fishing friends in Sitka gave us for a wedding present. Thank you very much Beth and Stephen. We enjoy each morsel completely.  For those of you who are not familiar with black cod or black cod tips I will give you a brief description. Black cod is also known as sablefish and, next to King Salmon, is one of the richest and oiliest fish you can put in your body. It is packed with the healthiest kind of oil you can eat and the fatty taste has a clarity and cleanliness of flavor that I find is characteristic of cold-water seafood. The tips are the amazing nugget of meat that is found under the collar that normally gets tossed away with the head. I probably should just keep this secret to myself, but I think it’s the best part of the fish. To learn more about black cod and the tips, you may want to check out this blog post, which is written by another Alaskan fisherwoman: http://nerkasalmon.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/seeking-the-sustainable-black-cod/

Because the meat is so rich, little needs to be done to dress it up and it is simple to cook. If you are able to get your hands on some, start by pre-heating your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare the tips by lightly salting them and sprinkling them with onion powder. I also like to splash them with a small amount of tamari. When the oven is fully heated I place the evenly spaced pieces in the middle of the oven and bake them for about 12 minutes. The temperature may sound high, but the heat sears the tips as soon as they hit the heat, which keeps little of the moisture and oil from escaping the rich capsules.

When it comes to wine pairing, I know that this white fish would pair well with many white wines, but it has a full enough flavor to stand up to Pinot Noirs or Red Burgundies because they are generally lighter bodied reds. Today however, whenever my thoughts turned to putting dinner together I kept thinking of Champagne. Perhaps the snow was making me feel celebratory. When I got home I grabbed a Brut Rosé from our stash. I think the bubbles will help to cut through the oil and reset our palates for each bite and the fuller bodied rosé will stand up to the richness of the fish. I wish you some good bites of black cod in your future.


Posted in: Fish