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Black cod with balsamic-shallot sauce and mashed potatoes

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Black cod with balsamic-shallot sauce and mashed potatoes

During his recent business travel to Seattle, my husband could not leave their famous seafood market without purchasing 30 pounds of seafood. That was his response to my complaint that we have not had fish in a very long time. About a week later there was a knock on the door and the delivery man handed me a huge heavy box, which upon opening revealed fresh, never frozen seafood: salmon, smoked salmon, black cod, shrimp, and sea bass cheeks – all carefully packaged and masterfully refrigerated within the box. I would lie if I said I wasn’t thrilled, to say the least. I love seafood and it has been a long-long time since I had any in my refrigerator.

I am happy (or sad) to report that I’ve already cooked a lot of this seafood treasure and that we have consumed it as vultures with speeds that did not allow me to write down all recipes or take all the pictures. The presence of the family and friends during the holidays also accelerated our consumption of fish. 30 pounds, you say? No more. Mind you, I still have a good amount of seafood in the freezer, but it would hardly weigh 30 pounds.

Black cod with balsamic-shallot sauce and mashed potatoes

This particular recipe worked really well with black cod fish, and it received numerous accolades both from my husband and other family members. I’ve made several renditions of it, my most favorite being with risotto as a side dish. This recipe uses mashed potatoes instead of risotto, and I might soon be posting the risotto version of this as well. Both versions (with mashed potatoes, here, and with risotto, to be posted later) are great!


What makes this recipe wonderful are 2 things: the black cod and the balsamic braised shallots. Black cod is often called butter fish due to its high oil content, which makes it very flavorful and, importantly, fool proof to cook. This fish is so buttery, it’s hard to overcook or dry it, making it a pretty safe fish to sear, broil, bake, or grill. Add soy sauce and honey glaze while searing or broiling and you’ll get a nice, “blackened” look. Using balsamic braised shallots with pomegranate as a base sauce for this fish turned out to be such a good marriage: I could not stop dipping buttery slices of black code into a light, red-wine-balsamic-shallot reduction with just a touch of sweetness from pomegranate seeds.

Black cod with balsamic and caramelized shallot sauce and mashed potatoes, roasted green onions, fish

Black cod with balsamic braised shallots, mashed potatoes, and green onions

Prep time: 40 min

Ingredients for black cod:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 black cod fillets
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

Ingredients for side dishes:

1) Prepare balsamic braised shallots with pomegranate according to the recipe, and keep it warm. It can be prepared 1 or 2 days in advance, too.

2) Prepare your favorite mashed potatoes and keep it warm – I am not posting a recipe here, even though I do have a favorite one too, because it’s such a basic side dish, mashed potatoes, – everyone has their favorite and proven recipe.

3) Clean and trim green onions, slice each into 2-3 slices (about 3 inch long each). Heat olive oil on medium-high heat in a skillet and roast green onions on high heat for about 10 minutes until they brown.

4) Preheat oven to broil. Heat soy sauce and honey for about a minute in a small pan to melt honey and mix it well with soy sauce. Brush the top (the side without skin) of each black cod fillet with about half of soy sauce and honey mixture. You should have half of this mixture left In a separate large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil on medium-high heat until hot. Place fish fillet glazed side on the skillet (skins up) and sear for about 5-7 minutes on high heat, until the top of fish browns. Turn fillets over and sear them skin side down for 5 minutes. Brush the top of fillets (with no skin on) with soy sauce and honey mixture again, place the fish right under the broiler and broil for 5-7 minutes until the top of fish darkens and browns even more. You can brush more glaze over fish half time through broiling. Remove from oven. You can remove the skin from the bottom of the fish at this point – it will easily peel off.

5) To serve: Divide balsamic braised shallots among 3 plates and place it in the middle of each plate (you can use less quantity because the recipe for shallots actually serves about 5 people). Add a serving of mashed potatoes to each plate next to shallots. Divide roasted green onions among 3 plates and place it next to shallots. Place a fillet of black cod on top of balsamic braised shallot mixture.

Black cod with balsamic-shallot sauce and mashed potatoes

More seafood recipes:

More recipes with pomegranate seeds:

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{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Ashley January 9, 2013, 7:33 am

    I really want to try to incorporate more fish into our diets. It’s something I NEVER make at home!

    • Julia January 10, 2013, 4:44 pm

      I love fish! I make it at home and I often choose it as an entree on the menu if I go out.

  • Medeja January 9, 2013, 6:20 pm

    So perfectly cooked and presented! I love it!

    • Julia January 10, 2013, 4:44 pm

      Thank you.

  • Elizabeth @ The Collegiate Baker January 10, 2013, 2:17 pm

    These are such good photos! I personally don’t like fish, but it looks so good in these pictures it makes me wish that I did!

    • Julia January 10, 2013, 4:45 pm

      And I took all these photos with a flash light, with no natural light whatsoever. Photos came out of tolerable quality, not as bad as I expected.

  • Laura Dembowski January 10, 2013, 2:21 pm

    Such a beautiful dish! I eat fish at least 4-5 times a week and love it. I have only had black cod once and wasn’t thrilled, but this post for sure convinced me to give it another try. If I can cook other fish with success, certainly I can cook black cod! Thanks for letting me know it was posted 🙂

    • Julia January 10, 2013, 4:47 pm

      I thought that it was a pretty easy fish to cook, salmon usually is more finicky in my experience, because it does not have as much oil content as black cod does. Also serving with a sauce definitely enhances the flavor.

  • mamma papera January 12, 2013, 2:36 am

    wow it’s wonderfull 🙂
    thank you ^^

  • [email protected] January 13, 2013, 6:04 pm

    30 pounds! How I envy you. What a feast you must have been having. I know, because if the other dishes you’ve cooked are like this one, you’ve been eating so, so well! Love the flavors in this – good stuff. Thanks.

  • [email protected] January 19, 2013, 7:23 am

    30 lbs is a lot of fish! I don’t eat black cod that often, but your description is making me wish I did. Looks and sounds fantastic. Can’t believe you took the pictures with a flash! They turned out great!

  • The Café Sucré Farine January 19, 2013, 8:10 pm

    Looks fabulous! What a wonderful meal for a dinner party!

  • Lisa H. January 22, 2013, 6:25 pm

    oh My Oh My!!! Julia… the dish looks amazing. I love fish too and looking forward to try this one
    Cheers 🙂

  • Christine @ Cooking Crusade January 23, 2013, 3:08 am

    This looks like a stunning meal. I’d love to have this any day of the week!

  • Tash January 28, 2013, 3:10 am

    I think us Brits tend to take it for granted that we are never further than an hour’s car ride from the sea. I don’t envy being in a very landlocked place – I miss the sea, being about an hour from it where I live now! – and I love fish so much that I don’t think I could be without it! I don’t know if you have sole-family fish available to you, or even in your seas (I’m sure you do) but if you ever get the chance, they are some of my favourite fish to eat. John Dory, lemon sole, plaice, Dover sole etc. are all great treated very simply, fried in a little caper butter and eaten with fresh spring vegetables (new potatoes, asparagus when in season, kale, peas etc). We (as a nation) love but are told to avoid eating cod because of its conservation status in our own seas, but I do quite love it! I also like the oily fish, such as mackerel and herring – which can be very versatile and are an excellent source of omega 3 oils.

  • Baltic Maid February 11, 2013, 1:25 am

    I love seafood as well. I grew up in a city near the sea and I miss having fresh fish. Your cod looks mouthwatering. I’ll save this recipe next time I get my hands on some fresh fish. Thank you for this recipe. 🙂

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