Hacked Sous Vide Black Cod
I never thought of a fish club until Carol sent this Tasting Table entry to me, promoting SIREN Sea SA.

We’re in a few wine clubs, and get the Mariquita Mystery Box, and shop at the Farmers Market religiously, but there’s always been this problem with fish. I want it fresh when I eat it, so I don’t usually buy it at the Farmers Market when I shop on Saturday, I buy it at Whole Food on the day I want to serve it. But I don’t know how long Whole Food has had it or where it comes from or what’s really in season. This fish club would seem to answer those questions, with the caveat of having to pick up the fish on a given day and at a given place and time. (Turns out to be early Saturday afternoon.) Oh well, we’ll plan our fish eating around it. So I joined up.

Now, we’ll look forward to a mystery fish each week, but hey, Anna Larsen, the “fish lady” promises a recipe to go with the fish. So I joined on a Wednesday and on Saturday picked up my Black Cod and true to form, there was a recipe on their web site.

Not only that, Anna gave me this swell soft cooler and ice pack… the better to transport the fish. With short notice and so on, I stored the fish as directed and planned for Monday dinner.

Hacked Sous Vide Black Cod w/Tomato & Brussels Sprouts Ingredients (one serving)
– Black Cod w/skin, 6oz
etc. see recipe at

Oops… when I first read the recipe, I thought it was for the whole “shipment.” (Hey… my first *fish club* experience) Reasoning and pictures prevailed and I realized the recipe was for One Serving, so I doubled the recipe and cooked all the fish while I was at it.

skinning the cod

skinning the cod

Since I was cooking this on Monday night and had to deal with my beloved Patriots on Monday Night Football, I made a cooking schedule. Lucky for me, I got anxious and started early.

“Remove skin from cod in one piece.” sounds so innocuous, but it ain’t easy to skin a cod. A sharp knife against a cutting board does nicely, getting it started is the hard part. I cut my fish into 4 pieces; the thick two for dinner tonight, the others for leftovers.

here's my cod skin and the fish resting in brine

here's my cod skin and the fish resting in brine

“Salt (the skin) generously on both sides and place on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper and bake in oven at 300F for 35 min, or until crispy. Create a brine with 5% salt / 95% water and leave fish in brine for 1 hour.”

my steamer in the bottom of the pot

my steamer in the bottom of the pot

“Fill stockpot with water (ideally should be an inch short of being full), insert probe thermometer into water and place on a med-high burner until water temperature reaches 125F.”

I put a steamer tray in my pot just in case. I wouldn’t want my fish resting on the hot bottom.


“Place fish into Ziploc bag and fill with just enough oil to nearly submerge the fish; add a few sprigs of thyme and tarragon into the oil. Dunk the open Ziploc bag into the water while still holding onto the open lip. Allow the water to force all the air out of the open top and once you as much air out as possible, seal the bag.”

I pushed the air out of my bags by rolling them around the fish on the countertop, rather than doing it in the water.

cod bags in the pot at 125°F

cod bags in the pot at 125°F

I have done faux sous vide before, but with chicken and beef, that take hours to cook.

For the quick cooking fish, holding water temperature was surprisingly easy, and when it crept up to nearly 150°F, I just turned off the burner. The momentum of the large quantity of water prevailed. And as it turned out, I didn’t have to worry about the bags settling on the bottom of the pot.


“Add tomatoes to saucepan and toss until skins are blistered and tomatoes are heated throughout.”

While the skin was baking and the fish was cooking, I blistered the tomatoes. I’ve never done tomatoes like this before… good idea! Nor have I done just a few leaves of Brussels sprouts to brighten up the plate. Nor have I ever eaten crisped fish skin. Whodathunkit! Kudos to Anna Larsen and SIREN Sea SA for the creative thinking.


So… what a fine piece of fish and stunning presentation. Wow. So fresh, so tender, so unctuous. And lucky for me, I have this fabulous helper (that would be Carol) to make the salad. The wine is 2008 Roland Lavantureux Chablis.

Now, I can hardly wait for my next piece of fish. Wonder what is in store.

12 thoughts on “FISH CLUB

  1. Very cool. I also love the idea of featuring the crispy skins. Very “Nose to Tail”.


  2. yum yum. can’t wait for the next installment!


  3. Nicely done, brother. We’ll have to try it. A few months ago, NYT had a video on how to cook a whole fish in the oven. Have the fishmonger gut it, and then season and stuff with spices and/or lemon, coat outside with olive oil and put in over @325 for 5-8 minutes. Pull the spine out in one piece and the meat falls off the skin. (Cant find the video, but if I run across it, I will send.) We do fish a couple times per month that way. Excellent.


  4. I wish college food were/looked this good.


  5. Pingback: Black Cod Wrap-up « Siren SeaSA

  6. Looks good! I’ll look for Black Cod at our fishmonger – yes! we do have one in interior Carolina.


  7. Nice post on the Siren Sea service. Was wondering if that amount of black cod is a “full” or “half” share? Thanks.


  8. This fish essay leaves me with many questions. How far in advance do you know what the fish selection is? or do you? Can you opt in-or-out of buying each offering? Is this a fish of the month club or is the interval greater or lesser than monthly?

    I’m just in awe that such an “of the month” club exists. What’s next? I’m sure you’ll let us know. By the way, how and where do you store all the various multitude of pots, pans, and cooking gizmos you own?


  9. Pam —
    So many questions.
    We don’t know until late Friday what the Saturday fish of the WEEK is.
    We can’t opt in or out to be choosey about the fish. The fun of it is to try new stuff, and Anna gives a suggested recipe. Can put on “vacation hold” from time to time.
    Maybe I’ll do an essay on stuff storage, but I’ll have to clean the kitchen. Here’s a link to one piece: Sadly, POM no longer makes those jars.


  10. Thanks for the feedback, Marcus. I too use many repurposed containers for leftover storage. My collection isn’t as vast as yours, but then I don’t have a whole cupboard designated for storage.

    One more “fish” question, if you don’t mind. Does the week-to-week cost vary depending on the catch-of-the-day?


  11. Pam –
    Cost does not vary, same every week automatically charged to my PayPal.


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