Black Cod with Tomato Ginger Beans and Fennel Slaw

A hug in a bowl. The brothy beans are spicy and gingery, the black cod is buttery and flakey, and the herby fennel slaw has the acid needed to brighten the whole dish. Black cod, also known as sablefish, is very forgiving when it comes to cooking, making it perfect for a hard pan sear. Plus, it’s one of the more sustainable fish choices you can make, so that’s a plus!

Serves 2


For the brothy beans: 

  • 2 tsp olive oil 
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 inch ginger, peeled and minced
  • ½ tsp berbere, see note*
  • Tomato paste 1.5 tbs
  • 1.5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sherry or red wine vinegar
  • 1 15 oz can great northern or cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 tbs butter or plant based butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

For the fennel slaw:

  • ¾ cup thinly shaved fennel
  • ⅓ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro stems 
  • ⅓ tsp diamond kosher salt
  • Small handful of mint, roughly chopped

For the fish

  • 2 4-6 oz filets of black cod
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil for the pan 
  • 1 tbs butter (optional)

* Living in Oakland, we have access to some of the best Ethiopian food and markets. Berbere is one of my all time favorite spices, and a huge part of Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine. If you can’t find berbere, any “warm” spice could also work. Paprika, smoked paprika, even curry powder would all work.

  1. In a pot, heat 2 tsp of olive oil, then add the shallots and the garlic. 
  2. Cook on low, stirring regularly, until very soft and semi caramelized, about 10-15 minutes. 
  3. Add the ginger and saute for 1 minute. Add the berbere and then sate for another 30-40 seconds. 
  4. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine. Stirring regularly, saute for 3 minutes. 
  5. At the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Add the cherry tomatoes. Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until thickened and the cherry tomatoes burst. 
  6. Add the beans and the vinegar and simmer for 5-7 minutes, until the flavors meld. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Add 1 tbsp of butter, remove from heat and cover. 
  7. In a small bowl, combine all of the slaw ingredients except for the mint and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Set aside.
  8. Return your beans to heat, simmer on very low. 
  9. Heat a fry pan over medium heat. If you are using a non stick skillet (not preferred), you will likely need to use higher heat. If using cast iron, stainless steel, or carbon steel, heat over medium.
  10. Pat your black cod filets dry and season generously with salt. 
  11. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil shimmers, add the fish to the pan, skin side down if applicable. 
  12. Cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes. At this time, the fish should release from the bottom of the pan. Adjust heat during this process if needed. 
  13. Flip the fish and cook for another 2 minutes. 
  14. Add a tbsp of butter and baste your fish until the flesh is opaque white and starting to flake, another 1-2 minutes Remove from heat. 
  15. Add your mint to the slaw and stir to combine. 
  16. Spoon your brothy beans into low bowls. Top with fish and slaw. Squeeze some extra lime over the whole dish if needed.