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Sablefish with Ouzo Sauce


Sablefish with Ouzo Sauce

Sablefish with Ouzo Sauce

Hank Shaw
Sablefish is a deep-water fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids. It's so rich that sablefish, also known as black cod or butterfish, does best with dry cooking. We bake it here. Sable's texture also requires a sharp foil, and I find that a bright ouzo-fennel-lemon sauce marries with sablefish well.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes


  • 1 pound sablefish fillets, skinned and with the pin bones removed
  • salt and black pepper
  • Fronds from a fennel bulb
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 cored and chopped fennel bulb
  • 1 finely chopped shallot
  • 1 T flour
  • 1/4 cup ouzo or other anise-flavored liqueur
  • 1/4 cup fish stock (chicken stock will do)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Make a foil packet for the sablefish large enough to make sure they are not overlapping. Rub the fish lightly with olive oil and season it with salt and pepper.

Curl the fennel fronds into the foil packet like a nest and place the sablefish on top. Close up the packet and bake for up to 30 minutes; check after 20 minutes, and at this point leave the packet a little open to let out steam.

Make the sauce. Heat a saucepan over high heat for 2 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium-high and add the oil. Let the oil get hot for a minute or two then add the fennel and shallot. Saute vigorously, stirring often.

When the fennel and shallots begin to color, add the flour and stir well. Cook this for a minute or so -- do not let the flour burn.

Add the stock, then the ouzo and let this boil down over high heat until it is reduced by half. Remove from the heat and process in a food processor until it is pureed. If it seems too thick, add a bit more stock. OPTIONAL: For a more refined sauce, push this through a tamis or other fine-mesh strainer.

Return sauce to the heat and warm through. Do not let it boil. Right before service, add the lemon juice and stir to combine. Serve at once by pouring over the fish fillets.

Garnish with fennel fronds and freshly ground black pepper.

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