This baked sablefish recipe is marinated in a sweet and savory honey, lime and soy sauce mixture then finished with a refreshing and spicy jalapeño corn salsa. It’s a healthy yet incredibly flavorful, easy meal.

A plate of cooked sablefish topped with corn kernels and sliced jalapeños, garnished with parsley. A fork rests on the edge of the plate.
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My first introduction to sablefish was on a trip to Alaska in 2015. While I was there to learn about wild salmon, during a group dinner, one of the fisherman was going on and on about how delicious sablefish was and how it was his favorite fish, even beating out the beloved Copper River Salmon we were there to talk about.

So when I saw black cod (that’s the other name for sablefish, they’re used interchangeably) on the menu that night, I ordered it. One bite into its buttery, tender flesh, I understood the hype.

If you’re thinking that because of its name it’s anything like regular cod. Don’t be fooled like I was at first. Sure, I’ve heard of and eaten plenty of cod (air fryer cod and air fryer fish sticks being two of my favorite ways to enjoy it!) but black cod (sablefish), is not the same at all.

The sablefish recipe I had that night featured an Asian flavored sauce glazed on top of the fish so that’s essentially what I came home and recreated. The corn and jalapeño salsa on top was not something the restaurant served with their fish but I love how the freshness of the corn kernels and spicy kick from the peppers complements the sweet and savory sauce.

Two white bowls contain cooked sablefish fillets topped with corn and green garnish, with forks resting in the bowls. A lime and corn on the cob are visible in the background.

What Is Sablefish?

Sablefish is a deep-sea fish native to the North Pacific from as far south as California all the way up to the Bering Sea in Alaska. It’s fatty and flaky but also incredibly buttery in taste and texture when cooked.

Besides being synonymous with black cod, it’s also sometimes called “butterfish” due to the aforementioned taste and texture. One of its best features is that it has the same levels of omega-3s as wild salmon.

Sablefish has gained notoriety in recent years thanks to Nobu’s popular miso black cod dish on the menu.

Why You’ll Love This Baked Sablefish Recipe

Flavorful: This black cod recipe is bursting with bold flavors from the marinade 

Easy to Make: With simple ingredients and straightforward instructions, this recipe is effortless to prepare, perfect for busy weeknights.

Healthy Choice: Packed with nutritious ingredients like protein-packed sablefish, honey and fresh vegetables, this dish is incredibly wholesome and satisfying.

Versatile: This baked sablefish recipe is adaptable to any kind of salsa as can easily be swapped out for another fish.

Elegant Presentation: It’s hard to not be impressed with the stunning appearance of this fish with the fresh salsa. While it’s easy enough for a weeknight dinner, it’s classy enough for a dinner party too.

A plate with a cooked sablefish fillet topped with corn and jalapeno slices, garnished with herbs. A fork rests beside the salmon, and a half lime is in the background.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Sablefish: Serves as the main protein source. See below for some fish alternatives if you can’t find sablefish.
  • Honey: Adds a touch of natural sweetness to the marinade, complementing the savory flavors of the fish.
  • Sesame oil: Contributes a rich and nutty flavor to the marinade
  • Lime: Offers a tangy and citrusy brightness to the marinade, balancing the richness of the fish.
  • Sweet corn: Fresh sweet corn kernels add a sweet and crunchy element to the salsa which is a lovely contrasting texture to the buttery fish.
  • Jalapeño: Adds a spicy kick to the salsa. Use as much or as little as your spice preferences desire.
  • Cilantro: Chopped cilantro brings a refreshing and herbaceous flavor to the salsa.

Making This Sablefish Recipe

Because of it’s high fat content, this fish stands up incredibly well to a strong marinade which is why the recipe calls for one to four hours of marinade time. Typically, fish is marinated for shorter periods of time as the acids can break down the flesh easily but sablefish is one of the few that can stand a longer marinade.

Make the marinade by whisking together all the ingredients in a large shallow bowl. Place the sablefish filets in the bowl, turning to coat a few times then refrigerate for 1-4 hours.

When you’re ready to bake the fish, preheat the oven to 450°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Reserve the extra marinade.

Place the marinated fish on the parchment paper and bake for 7-8 minutes until the flesh is opaque and just cooked through.

While the fish cooks, pour the marinade into a sauce pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently until the fish is cooked. Drizzle this over the cooked fish as a sauce or brush it on top like a glaze before serving with the prepared salsa.

I chose to serve the fish with a spicy-sweet corn jalapeño salsa since summer corn was in season.

This mango habanero salsa or a pineapple habanero salsa are two other great summery options as well.

A white plate with a piece of cooked black cod topped with corn kernels and sliced jalapeños, garnished with herbs, next to a fork. A lime and a corn cob are in the background.

Substitutions for Sablefish

If sablefish is not readily available, several other types of fish can be used in this recipe to achieve similar results:

  • Halibut: Halibut is a firm and meaty fish with a mild flavor. Its firm texture holds up well to baking, and it pairs nicely with the honey lime marinade and salsa.
  • Sea Bass: Sea bass offers a delicate texture and rich flavor that complements the bold flavors of the marinade and salsa. Its flaky flesh cooks up beautifully in the oven.
  • Monkfish: This fish has a firm texture and mild flavor. It absorbs flavors well and holds its shape during cooking, making it an ideal substitute for sablefish in baked dishes.
  • Salmon:Salmon’s rich, buttery texture pairs wonderfully with the sweet and tangy flavors of the honey lime marinade. While it has a slightly stronger flavor than sablefish, it still goes well the jalapeño corn salsa.
  • Haddock: Haddock is a flaky white fish with a mild flavor. Its tender texture and subtle taste allow it to absorb the flavors of the marinade and salsa.

I will never give up wild salmon as my favorite fish, but sablefish has really impressed me with its taste and nutritional profile when I’m more in the white fish kind of mood.

A piece of cooked black cod topped with corn kernels, sliced jalapeños, and herbs, served on a white plate with a fork.

More White Fish Recipes to Try:

Cod is a ubiquitous fish and incredibly affordable. Try our blackened cod recipe or cod piccata for a more convenient meal.

When halibut is on sale, I can’t resist its meaty texture. This pan fried halibut with kiwi berry salsa is a recipe very similar to this one, even down to the salsa topping!

It’s been years since I’ve made tilapia, but now that better sources are starting to emerge, this Dijon almond crusted tilapia recipe is an easy weeknight meal that the whole family will like.

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5 from 8 votes

Baked Sablefish Recipe

Servings: 2 servings
Prep: 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook: 7 minutes
Total: 1 hour 17 minutes
A plate of cooked sablefish topped with corn kernels and sliced jalapeños, garnished with parsley. A fork rests on the edge of the plate.
This honey lime sablefish, also known as black cod, is topped with a spicy jalapeño and fresh corn salsa for a healthy but incredibly flavorful and easy meal.

Ingredients 

For the Fish

  • 12 ounces sablefish, 2 filets
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • salt and pepper

For the Jalapeno Corn Salsa

  • 1 ear of sweet corn
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced into thin rings
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lime

Instructions 

For the Fish

  • Whisk the honey, sesame oil, soy, lime juice, salt and pepper together in a large bowl.
  • Place the sablefish in the marinade, turn to coat, cover and refrigerate for 1-4 hours, turning half way through.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place marinaded filets on the parchment and bake for about 7-8 minutes until flesh is opaque and just cooked through.
  • While fish cooks, pour the marinade from the bowl into a small sauce pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently until reduced and thickened.
  • Brush the thickened marinade onto the fish once out of the oven.

For the Jalapeno Corn Salsa

  • Prepare the salsa by cutting off kernels from the ear of corn and combining them in a small bowl with the remaining salsa ingredients.
  • Serve fish immediately with salsa.

Nutrition

Serving: 1SERVINGCalories: 787kcalCarbohydrates: 54gProtein: 31gFat: 51gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 36gCholesterol: 107mgSodium: 564mgFiber: 2gSugar: 43g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
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Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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Recipe Rating




14 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I love the honey marinade on this fish, and the salsa—well, let’s just say I could eat it with a spoon. It’s a perfect pairing.