Black Cod Caesar

Local Ocean’s Special

TIME: 20 minutes

SERVING SIZE: 5 oz. black cod per person

Black Cod Fillet
Romaine Hearts
Caesar Dressing
Pork Belly
Red Onion + Tomatoes
Parmesan Cheese

Salt + Pepper to season
2-3 tbsp oil for cooking


1. This recipe can be made on a stovetop or a grill. If you are going to use the grill, begin heating it now.

2. Prepare the components:

 - Cut the romaine lettuce in half lengthwise through the stem end (this will hold it together while it cooks). Season each half with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper.

- Cut the pork belly into ½” pieces and set aside.

- Season the black cod fillets on both sides with salt and pepper.

3. Cook the dish - At the restaurant, we grill black cod. However, it is a fragile fish to cook, so we recommend pan-searing if you’re nervous about breaking the fillet. This will ensure that you don’t lose any of the fish if the fillet breaks.  We serve black cod medium-well or well done. It can be a little “gummy” if it is undercooked, so pull it off the grill when it is 135 degrees or more in the center.

4. Stovetop preparation:

- Position oven rack to the highest level and heat oven to low broil.

- Spray or oil a cookie sheet and arrange romaine halves cut-side up, spread evenly. When broiler is preheated, bake for 2-3 minutes until romaine starts to blacken. Watch it closely so it does not burn. Flip and cook on the other side briefly until it starts to blacken. You want a grilled look to the lettuce.

- While romaine is broiling, cook your black cod: Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat with 2 tbsp olive oil. You may need more oil if your pan is not seasoned fully and/or you are not using a nonstick pan. When the oil is shimmering but not smoking, add the fish, being careful to avoid sticking to the pan. Shake the pan gently as you add each portion to make sure it has enough oil between it and the pan – this will ensure a proper sear without sticking. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then flip, gently shaking the pan again as you place the raw side down into the oil. You can add a splash more oil at this point if the pan needs it. If your fish is not browning after 2 minutes, turn your pan heat up a little – color is flavor! To finish, brush with herb butter a minute or two before taking it off the stove. Set the fillet aside to rest while you finish the dish.

- Using the same pan you cooked the fish in, heat up the pork belly over medium heat until just warmed through.

5. Grill preparation:

- Heat your grill or grill pan until it is 450-500 degrees. You want it very hot, so you get a good sear without overcooking your fish – the grill marks are great flavor!

- Grill the romaine – add the lettuce to the grill cut-side down. After a minute, rotate 90 degrees and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side – you want the lettuce to char just a bit for flavor. Pull from the grill and set aside.

- At the same time, cook the black cod - drizzle your fish with a little olive oil on both sides. Add to the grill, making sure to place portions at a 45-degree angle to the grill slats so you get nice marking (you want to see a diamond crosshatch pattern on the fish when you’re done). Cook for 2 minutes, then rotate each piece 90 degrees and cook another 1-2 minutes. Flip and repeat for the other side, being careful not to overcook (see temperature instructions above). To finish, brush with herb butter a minute or two before taking it off the grill. Set the fillet aside to rest while you finish the dish.

- Heat the pork belly – grill the pork belly until just heated through. If your grill slats are too far apart and the pork will fall through, you can place in a pan or bowl above the grill on the warming rack while you cook the other items.

6. To assemble - Chop the romaine into 1” pieces (or you can keep whole and eat with a knife if you prefer – just top with other ingredients instead of tossing). In a large bowl, toss chopped romaine, pork belly, croutons, parmesan, tomatoes, and onions with the Caesar dressing. Divide evenly among large plates or bowls, mounding in the center. Top with black cod and anchovies. Enjoy!

Black Cod, also known as sablefish, is one of the most valuable ocean species. The majority of Oregon's catch is exported to Japan, where it is considered a delicacy. In recent years it has gained popularity in the United States - particularly with seafood lovers in Oregon, as it is very high in heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, and very rich and flavorful.  We feature it on top of Chef Enrique's take on a Caesar salad in our DockBox this week. It is simple to prepare, but does require some attention and focus when grilling.

Updated July 18th, 2021

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