Black Cod and Salmon Stew

Great success with two black cod dishes. My dad bought a whole black cod for us from a Chinese market. It was gutted, but still had the bones, scales, and head. On the first day, I baked the black cod; and on the second day, I incorporated the leftover gelatin, bones, and leftovers into seafood stew with salmon, millet, and veggies.

(Note: black cod is a medium-mercury fish, considered safe for eating once a week by the state of Washington.)

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Black Cod

I cut it in half, put it in a glass baking pan with a little olive oil on the bottom, and baked at 450 for about 30 minutes. My dad said to either bake or microwave it for 10 minutes, but he has a convection oven and maybe he was starting with a room temperature rather than refrigerated fish. I have no idea. At any rate, the spine was still bloody at 10 minutes, and I ended up baking for much longer to make sure it was done. Because the fish is so fatty, the extra baking time didn’t hurt it at all. (The next day, I ordered a meat thermometer so I wouldn’t have to go through this guesswork again.)

We ate the black cod with friends, and it was delicious.

I saved all the gelatin that had been released during cooking, along with the bones, scales, and leftover bits of flesh.

Seafood Stew

The next day, I made a seafood stew.

  • leftover black cod skeleton, scales, head, and a small amount of flesh
  • 1 salmon filet, cubed
  • 3 leeks
  • 1 onion
  • 3 carrots
  • 8 slices ginger
  • 1 dried chili pepper
  • carrot greens
  • half a bunch of kale
  • 1 cup millet, soaked in 2 cups water and 2 tbsp yogurt whey for 7 hours
  • salt, to taste

Various sites said not to make fish stock with oily fish, but I found a few that said you could use black cod, so I decided to compromise by not overcooking the skeleton (especially since it had roasted yesterday and already released so much gelatin).

I picked as much flesh off the bones as I could and set it aside. Then I boiled the skeleton and scales with water, a splash of apple cider vinegar, and salt while prepping other ingredients. At this point, it mostly just tasted oily and I was rather worried about whether the entire experiment work.

Jeremy sliced and sautéed the leeks, onion, carrots, ginger, and chili. I would have added garlic, but we were out. I also intended to add black pepper, but forgot.

After a half hour, I strained the bones and scales out of the stock and added the leftover black cod flesh, salmon, sautéed vegetables, millet, and salt. I let those simmer until the millet was cooked and had absorbed much of the liquid, perhaps twenty minutes. Jeremy sautéed the carrot greens and kale separately and we added those last, but if I’d been cooking alone I’d have skipped the sautéing step and dumped them straight into the pot.

And it was delicious! Because the millet soaked up so much of the liquid, the end result smelled very flavorful but didn’t taste overly oily or gelatinous at all. I definitely plan on doing this again next time we make black cod. Maybe we can even keep a pack of Trader Joe’s frozen seafood around, so I can throw it together even more quickly.

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