When I first started this blog, I intended to buy various types of fish online to review both the products and the services available. After all, not everyone is like me and has access to incredible, fresh, wild-caught seafood. Also, there are a lot of different fish I’ve always wanted to try that don’t make it to my part of the world.
Thanks to friends like The Fish Society, Australis and others, I’ve been able to get some great fish sent to me for review purposes. However, it was time I finally made an online purchase of seafood. After much hemming and hawing, I decided to go with Sizzlefish.com in order to try a fish I’ve heard so much about: Sablefish, also known as black cod.
Sizzlefish is the creation of owner Rob Mayo and has a 30-year history of shipping seafood to natural food and premium grocery suppliers. Their management team consists of 5 individuals who grew up in the fish business – something I can relate to. They spell out a lot of their philosophy over on the FAQ page, including their opinions on wild/farmed seafood and shipping fresh versus frozen.
Ordering From Sizzlefish.com
There were plenty of options to order sablefish online, both wild and farmed. However, I got hit with one or two roadblocks: either shipping costs crushed my enthusiasm, or they didn’t accept PayPal. Sizzelfish.com not only accepts PayPal, but they offer free shipping! I’m well aware that there is no such thing as “free shipping” but having it already built into the price makes for a less-stressful first-time buying experience.
Sizzlefish has an easy to navigate website. I quickly found that their sablefish (black cod), comes in 14, 4oz portions, so about 3.5 pounds of fish, plus shipping for $138.95. I also signed up to their mailing list, which gave me an additional 10% off my first order. Not exactly cheap but not a deal breaker either.
Since I ordered late in the day, my order was processed the next morning, as described in my confirmation email. The next day I received another email that my fish has shipped and would arrive in 2 days. The box was delivered as promised, FedEx dropped off the box at 4:30PM in perfect condition.
The Sizzlefish Packaging
Within that first box was a small, but thick-walled Styrofoam shipping cooler and a thank you letter with some thawing instructions. When I opened the cooler, I was met with numerous vacuum sealed fish fillets that were frozen solid. Sizzlefish does a great job packing their product, not only were the sablefish fillets in perfect condition, but there was a nice chunk of dry ice left to play with in the sink (do not touch with bare skin) and made a fog bank in the kitchen.
On first inspection the 14 wild-caught sablefish fillets were skin-on, with an off-white colored meat. Sizzlefish gave me mostly thick portions but also a couple longer, but thinner tail sections. I’m interested in seeing how the taste and cooking time will differ with these cuts of sablefish.
To start I thawed four pieces of about equal thickness overnight in the fridge. The next day I removed them from their packages and patted them dry with paper towels. The fillets were in very good condition, except for one that had a funky looking piece, but not too bad. I did notice that after thawing the fillets are very delicate and I had to be careful handling them before cooking.
While searching for a recipe to use, I noticed that nearly everything I could find online was a variation on the famous miso marinated black cod from the Nobu Restaurants. It does sound excellent, but when my local supermarket didn’t have miso paste, I switched gears but kept to a similar theme at least in theory.
Sablefish with Tamari, Lime and GingerCuisine: SeafoodDifficulty: Easy
Although I am using low FODMAP ingredients, I did not adhere strictly to serving size when making the marinade. To make this truly low FODMAP adjust the measurement of tamari.
4 Sablefish (black cod) fillets (about 1 pound)
3 Tbsp. real Maple Syrup
3 1/2 Tbsp. Tamari soy sauce
1/4 Cup Garlic infused Olive Oil
1 Lime, juice and zest
Fresh ground Black Pepper
- Place thawed sablefish fillets in a large resealable plastic bag.
- Whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over fish. Seal and refrigerate 2-3 hours.
- Pre-heat oven to 400F and place fish on parchment lined baking sheet.
- bake for about 20 minutes or less.
- I opted for more maple syrup to balance out the strong lime zest, however you can play around with these ratios to get your perfect balance.
Although many fish experts say not to over-marinate your fish, I think it depends upon the fish and the marinade. You certainly don’t want to “cook” your fish with too much acid over a long period. I grew up in a house were most fish that wasn’t fried was marinated in Italian dressing overnight and we never had mushy or stringy fish. When it comes to sablefish, it seems that it can hold up to a long marinade time, if it is not too acidic.
The Verdict: Sizzlefish and Sablefish
A very tasty fish, although softer in texture than I’m used to. I totally see why people love sablefish. It literally melts in your mouth, and the marinade, which tasted strong beforehand, did not take over. When I read all those online comments about how sablefish is “silky” I will now know what they mean. The wife and I were both impressed and that is a good thing since I have enough in the freezer to experiment with marinades and cooking styles.
So the sablefish was great, the delivery was flawless, the price was reasonable, shipping was included, so what more can I say about Sizzlefish that they haven’t said for themselves? If I didn’t live in America’s Oldest Seaport, or near other high-quality sources of seafood, I would be a regular customer of Sizzlefish.
I highly recommend trying out Sizzlefish for yourself. I’m pretty sure I’ll be using them in the future when I have a craving for fish I can’t get here in Gloucester.