Black Cod with Escarole-Corn Soup

Black Cod with Escarole-Corn Soup

Black Cod with Escarole-Corn Soup

Nutrition (and sustainability) at a glance

  • Black Cod, also called Sablefish, is a North Pacific fish species.  Black Cod is very high in omega-3 fatty acids, with a content comparable to wild salmon.  It is also high in the b-vitamins b6, niacin, and b-12, and high magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium.
  • Black Cod has a stable, healthy fishery, making it a very sustainable fish to consume.
  • Escarole is a low-calorie, nutrient-rich leafy green vegetable.  It is high vitamins A and K, folate, and the minerals copper, iron, and manganese.

I get inspiration for my recipes from all over, but last week was afforded a unique opportunity to pick up a few new flavor combinations and dish inspirations.  On Friday night I attended a kinda super secret supper club called The Vagrancy Project.  It is the first step in 23-year -old LA chef Miles Thompson’s (formerly of Son of a Gun, Nobu, and Animal) path to opening up his own restaurant.  Prior to the dinner I exchanged a few emails with Miles, and after I had completed all eleven courses….with drink pairings…I got the opportunity to chat with him in person.  Our approaches to cooking are somewhat similar, focusing on creative combinations of flavors and ingredients, and using primarily what is available at that week’s market.  I am very much a home cook, focusing on approachable, healthy meals.  Miles, on the other hand, creates dishes that are evolved a few steps beyond this, incorporating flavorful sauces and meticulous plating.  His attention to detail puts his creations comfortably up against some of the top players in the LA food scene .  This kind of creativity is exactly what I need to break me out of any monotonous ruts I fall into.

Though every dish on Friday at Vagrancy impressed, there were a few ingredients, methods of preparation, and flavor treatments that stood out to me.  I particularly liked his use of black cod, a fish I often forget about.  It is mild yet flavorful with a nice texture, very high in omega-3 fatty acids, and has a very high sustainability rating – basically the perfect ROOTED fish.  A dish I particularly liked was a Columbia River salmon he served with a lettuce  soup, another good spring idea I have yet to explore on ROOTED.  These two things got me thinking on Sunday’s trip to the market.

Of course what I eventually settled on shape shifted 3-4 times before I was able to get out of the grocery store, but I think the final product ended up a fantastic dish.  It is the first time I’ve used corn this year, both blending it into the escarole soup, as well as toasting / blackening it for some nice flavor and texture on the final product.  I decided to get a little crazy and blend a strawberry into the soup as well.  It rounds out the flavor nicely, and gives it that extra bit of springy flavor.  The below ended up being my personal favorite recipes of late (and it’s not complicated).  Thanks, Miles and Vagrancy.


  • 1 lb black cod, cut into filets
  • 5 leaves escarole lettuce
  • fresh kernels from 1 ear of corn
  • 1 small fennel bulb, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup yellow bell pepper (about 1/4 pepper), diced
  • 1 strawberry
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 t cardamom
  • 1/4 t white pepper
  • fresh basil
  • 1 mandarin orange (or kumkuats – which I wanted but couldn’t find)
  • sour cream
  • Olive oil, salt, pepper

Total time:  30 minutes

Serves 3-5

Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add the fennel, bell pepper, garlic, and 1/2 the kernels of corn from one ear.  Season with salt and pepper and cook about 4 minutes, stirring often, until soft.  Transfer to a blender, add one cup of chicken stock, the escarole, strawberry, white pepper, and cardamom.  Blend until smooth, at least 90 seconds.  Transfer blended mixture to a small saucepan or skillet and bring over low heat.

Toast the remaining corn kernels in a dry skillet over medium-high heat about 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.

For the black cod, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet.  Season the filets with salt and pepper and cook for about 2 minutes per side (DO NOT OVER COOK).

Spoon some of the escarole-corn soup into shallow bowls and place a black cod filet in the center of each.  Sprinkle in blackened corn, and top with chopped fresh basil and a very thin slice of mandarin orange.  Add a dollop of sour cream, and garnish with anything else fancy like a sliced strawberry.


Recipe ID: 1105

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