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Sablefish with Savoy Cabbage and Fennel Slaw

Photo: Annabelle Breakey; Styling: George Dolese
Total time 45 mins

Serves 4

Savoy cabbage is mild and tender even when raw, making it ideal for this light accompaniment to rich sablefish. The recipe is also excellent with 4 boned trout fillets, and the slaw tastes good with chicken or pork too.


  • 2 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 4 skin-on sablefish (black cod) fillets, each about 6 oz. and 1/2 in. thick; or use 4 skin-on trout fillets
  • 1 medium fennel bulb with a lot of feathery greens attached
  • 5 cups very thinly sliced savoy cabbage (from a 1-lb. cabbage)
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 orange, cut into segments*
  • 1/4 cup sliced chives, divided

Nutrition Information

  • calories 466
  • caloriesfromfat 69 %
  • protein 23 g
  • fat 36 g
  • satfat 6.6 g
  • carbohydrate 16 g
  • fiber 6.4 g
  • sodium 611 mg
  • cholesterol 69 mg

How to Make It

  1. Toast fennel seeds in a 12-in. nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Set aside 1/2 tsp. Finely grind remaining seeds with 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper in a mortar or clean coffee grinder. Rub mixture evenly all over fish and set aside.

  2. Chop enough fennel greens to make 3 tbsp. Tear off any remaining small fronds; set aside. Trim and discard fennel stalks and any tough outer layers from bulb. Cut bulb in half lengthwise, core, and slice very thinly crosswise.

  3. In a large bowl, combine cabbage, sliced fennel, and chopped fronds.

  4. In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tbsp. oil, the lemon zest and juice, orange zest, reserved 1/2 tsp. whole fennel seeds, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Pour dressing over cabbage mixture and toss with your hands until well combined. Add orange segments and 3 tbsp. chives and toss gently. Set aside.

  5. In the frying pan, heat remaining 2 tbsp. oil over medium-high heat. Add fish skin side down (it may spatter) and cook, occasionally tipping pan and basting flesh with oil, until skin is well browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking and basting until flesh is no longer translucent in center (cut to test), 3 to 4 minutes longer. If fish is thicker than 1/2 in., or if it isn't done yet, cover pan and cook 5 to 7 minutes more.

  6. Spoon slaw onto 4 plates. Top each mound with a fish fillet. Sprinkle with reserved fennel fronds and remaining 1 tbsp. chives.

  7. *To segment orange, cut off peel and outer membrane, following curve of fruit. Then cut segments (also called supremes) free from inner membranes.