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LivingFood and DrinkBlack Cod with Swiss Chard, Olives and Lemon

Black Cod with Swiss Chard, Olives and Lemon

by Susan Hanna

Black cod, also known as sablefish, is a cold-water fish that is showing up in many recipes these days because of its white flesh, delicate texture and sweet taste. If you can find it, try it in this recipe. You can also use halibut, which is not as high in fat. The preparation of the fish in this recipe is straightforward; the interesting ingredients are reserved for the Swiss chard. You boil a whole lemon for a half hour until it is tender, then chop the pulp, peel and pith. The chopped lemon is combined with chopped black olives and the mixture is added to the sautéed chard. It’s an unusual flavour mix, but it works very well with the oily fish and sautéed greens. This is also a very nutritious, low-fat recipe, with only 220 calories per serving.

 Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for olives cured in oil without any additives or preservatives. For more recipes using all natural ingredients, visit


  • 1 lemon, stem removed
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 mL) coriander seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 mL) cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons (15 mL) olive oil, divided
  • 4 4-ounce (125 g) pieces skin-on black cod fillet
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 mL) (or more) crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 large bunches Swiss chard (about 1 ½ pound or 750 g total), ribs and stems removed, leaves torn
  • 2 tablespoons (15 mL) oil-cured black olives, pitted, sliced


Place lemon in a small saucepan; add water just to cover. Place a small heatproof plate inside the saucepan, on top of the lemon, to keep it submerged. Bring water to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until lemon is very tender when pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes. Drain. Cut lemon in half (to help cool faster); let cool.

Scoop out pulp from both lemon halves and press pulp through a coarse-mesh sieve into a small bowl; discard solids. Finely chop peel and pith and add to pulp. Set aside.

Toast coriander and cumin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until slightly darkened and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

Coarsely grind coriander and cumin seeds in spice mill or with mortar and pestle. Heat 1 tablespoon (15 mL) oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season fish with spice mixture, salt, and pepper; place skin side down in skillet. Cook until browned and crisp, 5-6 minutes. Turn; cook until just opaque in the center, 2-4 minutes more.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon (15 mL) oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and ¼ teaspoon (1 mL) crushed red pepper flakes; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chard by the handful, tossing and allowing it to wilt slightly between additions. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until all chard is tender, 5-7 minutes. Set aside.

Mix olives and reserved lemon mixture into chard. Season with salt, pepper, and more crushed red pepper flakes, if desired. Serve fish with chard. Serves 4.

From the January 2013 issue of Bon Appetit




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