Black cod, also called Butterfish (which is extremely appropriate, given its texture) or Sablefishd, and the is the less expensive, but just as good, cut from the gills and throat bits.
It’s sorta funky looking at first, but once cooked, it’s a pretty attractive meal.
Black cod (fillets or collar) has a fairly big following due to its extremely supple, rich and oily texture. Unlike many other oily fish, such as tuna or mackeral, it doesn't have the same "fishy" flavor, but retains the rich smooth texture and contains just about the highest levels of Omega-3 fatty acids that you can get (3201mg per serving).
Because of this softness, it's difficult to grill and nearly impossible to fry. My first try with black cod was the collar, and did attempt to grill it, using a fish grill basket. It did fall apart and wasn't especially attractive, but it tasted great.
Black cod is often prepared with miso, mirin, soy and ginger (basic asian flavors) and it's wonderful this way, as the acididty in all of these components balances the fattiness. This recipe, however, uses a dry rub.
The collar is much less expensive than fillets which run 15.99+ per pound. For your first attempt, I would strongly recommend taking a trip to your local Asian grocery store to see if you can get any collar. It's not a simple fish to cook, and this way you won't waste too much money on experimenting.
The collar will probably come with the fins on. Use some kitchen shears to cut off the fins, then, use a knife to portion it into reasonably even pieces where you can. There will be some big pieces of tough bones that you might not be able to cut through; don't worry about it too much.
Plate the collar with a light salad of spicy greens - arugula and mizuna mix - with a simple red wine and dijon mustard vinaigrette. Serve as a small plate or tapas.
While mixing the rub, take often and adjust levels to your liking. Use the hot sauce sparingly, as you don't want it to be too hot, nor do you want it to be a paste. If you are sensitive to spice, use lemon juice in place of hot sauce. Don't use only a few drops of oil in the pan to sear it, and refrain for using any in the rub, as there is more than enough in the fish already.
Black Cod Collar Rub
Very finely minced Torpedo (or red) onion
Habanero (or other very hot) hot sauce
1. Mix ingredients together and coat heavily on all sides of the fish.
2. Sear fish in a hot pan, skin side down, without flipping (or) use a fish grill basket on a very hot grill. (The high heat will crisp
up the skin.)
3. Once the skin is crispy, remove from heat, careful not to over cook. If searing in a pan, use a fish spatula to remove the fish
carefully, trying to keep it from falling apart. Most likely, it will fall apart to some extent because of the cuts and the fish
4. Plate and serve with salad.