Alaskan black cod with a raw salad of beets, carrots and radishes


West Seattle

West Seattle

A few days ago, we took a ferry ride to Vashon island to see our friends, Shauna, Danny and Lu. Yes, you know them – Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef. It was a cloudy Saturday morning. A peaceful one where the fog rolled in through the Sound. It was our first time in Vashon. An island the size of Manhattan with a population of 10,000. Most of them probably operate family farms and just enjoy a very laid back lifestyle.

We had a casual lunch at Shauna and Danny’s house while the children ran around in the garden and jumped on the trampoline.

The most bucolic picture.

I even got a sneak peek into their new book “Gluten-Free Girl Every Day”. A beautiful book with approachable and family friendly recipes, beautifully photographed by our friend Penny. I am so excited for them as this is the third book and they keep evolving, teaching and learning.

The conversation flowed that day. As we flipped through the pages, the dilemma of family meals came up. “How is family dinner at your house?” Shauna asked. C and I looked at each other. “Probably not as glamorous as it might seem” we shared.

Wild Alaskan black cod

Wild Alaskan black cod


The question of our family meals comes up quite a bit these days. I even talked about it on the radio this morning.

Our family meals are easy. Everyone knows that I will only cook one meal – no exceptions. “This is not a restaurant” I say jokingly. And it isn’t. Jon and Miren accompany us to the farmer’s market every weekend, I encourage them to pick produce and to ask questions. I believe this is key for them not to feel ingredients are strange or unfamiliar.

Having said this, our family meals are not always perfect.

The idea of children that eat mustard green flowers in a bunch or never complain about what is presented to them is not always accurate. C. loves meat more than he loves fish, Jon and Miren love fish more than they love meat. It’s always a compromise, but I must say, they are always grateful for what I cook for them.

In this black cod dish with shaved beets, carrots and radishes, Jon will eat carrots and will ask for a side of mâche. Miren on the other hand will eat it all with a side of avocado, no mâche. There is usually some alteration.

And I am ok with it. They grow and they learn.

As we all did.

Alaskan black cod with raw beet, carrot and radish salad

Alaskan black cod with raw beet, carrot and radish salad

On another note, just let you know that my food styling and photography workshop in Seattle on Saturday, July 20th is sold out.

However, due to high demand, we have opened up another session on Sunday, July 21st. For details and tickets, please visit HERE.

Thank you to all who signed up so quickly!

Wild Alaskan black cod with a salad of beets, carrots and radishes

serves 4

4 (6-ounce) pieces black cod or halibut, skin removed
Juice of 2 small lemons
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
Salt and pepper
4 baby striped beets, peeled and thinly sliced with a mandolin
3 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced with a mandolin
5 radishes, thinly sliced with a mandolin
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
A few mustard green flowers (optional)
Aioli, optional

Place the black cod in a shallow bowl. Season with salt and pepper on both sides. Pour in juice of 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of cilantro and 1 tablespoon of chives. Toss the fish in the marinade and set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss together the beets, carrots, radishes, onion, 1 tablespoon chives, 1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, mustard flowers, 2 tablespoons olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat a medium non-stick pan over medium high heat. Place the fish on the pan what used to be skin-side down. Cook for 2 minutes and gently flip the fish over. Finish cooking for another 2 or 3 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. Black cod is an oily fish and it’s a bit harder to overcook it so don’t fret.

Serve the fish on a platter toped with the salad and a dollop of aioli. Serve immediately.

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53 Responses to “Alaskan black cod with a raw salad of beets, carrots and radishes”

  1. Megan says:

    How lovely, Aran! It’s encouraging to know that your meals aren’t always as perfect as they seem (although I have no doubt they are always beautiful – you have such a gift for that!) My parents never prepared my brother and I a separate meal growing up, and I am thankful for it today. Picky, I am not ;)

  2. Beautiful recipe, Aran. And I do share the same sentiment about our family meals. Everyone thinks its fancy day-in-day-out. But it’s not! I cook fresh seasonal, easy meals and I think we are fine just as is :)

  3. Rosa says:

    Beautiful colors! This gorgeous dish must taste wonderful.



  4. Giulia says:

    I am no short-order cook either! One meal that’s it – try it and if they don’t like it that’s fine. I know my kids won’t go hungry. I refuse to default to mac and cheese and nuggets, which I find gives kids the wrong message. My biggest challenge is that my son won’t touch vegetables – none at all. I try to sneak them in and I call everything green Basil these days, because he’s fine with that.

    • Aran says:

      How old is he? He will come around I am sure. When Jon turned three he started saying he didn’t want to eat vegetables. He would only eat a few things, but now, he eats nearly everything. Patience my friend.

  5. Gerley says:

    So happy you touched on this subject again- great read! And it is nice to see that it CAN be done with some patience and the right attitude :) Must bookmark this for the future ha ha

  6. Bee says:

    Wow I didn’t even know about your 7/20 class. Blinked and I missed! Wish I could sign up for the 7/21 class but, alas, I’m lacking in equipment. I have a desktop and a point-and-shoot. :( I’m looking to upgrade to a dSLR in the near future. Probably won’t be buying a laptop with another license of Photoshop any time soon though. Too bad, it’s a great price for the class!

  7. Eileen says:

    This has to be one of the most beautiful meals ever. I love all the delicate slices of veg with their subtle colors! And finely sliced raw veg sounds like ht perfect flavor and texture contrast to sweet fish, too. :)

  8. Lisa says:

    I admire your style so much. These photos, the food, the scenery are all absolutely beautiful!

  9. Elisa says:

    ” glamorous ” is such a bizarre concept, I think: from your photos ( which seem to have evolved recently, and look possibly even more beautiful than before, if I can say this ) it shows your ability to transform the simple plates of a family meal ( the best, to me, even if I’m sure the ones you cooked at the Rizt were great too ) into beautiful things, and the care you put in them. I see no fancy in it, and surely it is not always easy to achieve. But probably we readers perceive mainly your positivity about the process, which doesn’t relie on how hard or smooth the whole thing is, but depends on your own attitude. However, is a good thing to talk about the normalcy of life too!
    Sadly, many of the ingredients of this appealing plate are not in season around here – we’re already craving for sorbets here in this sudden wave of heat! But I will try it as soon as the right season comes around, it looks yummy :-)

  10. I have such great memories of going to Vashon as a kid growing up in Seattle – such peace and beauty there.

    And your black cod looks heavenly! The move to the Pacific Northwest must be agreeing with you:)


  11. Y says:

    Vashon looks so beautiful! As does your dish. Your comment about not being a restaurant made me laugh :)

  12. Danielle says:

    Mmmm, your photos and words are making me very nostalgic for Seattle with its silvery clouds and equally silvery seas. So lovely. And this dish is just beautiful – I love the simplicity of it, the colours – I can almost taste it just looking. And always I love your dishes and spoons. It’s good to hear your honesty about dinners at home not always being easy – but it sounds like you’ve managed to do a brilliant job with minimal fuss. Your children are indeed lucky.


  13. I love the look of the fish and delicately sliced vegetables- so fresh and light! I don’t have kids, but I’m always intrigued by stories of dinnertime in families with children. I have to imagine that if they did everything we wanted them to do life would be pretty dull, though, wouldn’t it? Each has their own tastes, and that’s what makes life interesting (if a little more complicated at dinner time).

  14. That recipe good! The colors are great and spectacular photographs, only to see it because we want to eat it! Above, cod is a fish that we like very much. Congratulations again! Greetings ‘spicy’

  15. Karine says:

    I am happy I am not the only one that has kids that eat different things. My youngest of 5 is vegetarian and now only consents to eat some fish and chicken breast. I respect her choice even if it drives my husband crazy having a vegetarian daughter while he is a carnivore. My eldest prefers meat and seldom eat any vegetables. I was getting tired of cooking 2 different meals to satisfy them all. So now I decided to do what my family used to do. Cook one meal and they will each pick what they like or eat a sandwich. hehehe

    Being so close to the sea you must have abundance of fresh fish and seafood. Hope to see even more pictures of Seattle soon. How is the temperature now? Is Seattle always gloomy like Vancouver? Now in Montreal the temperatures have risen quite a bit. We finally have very beautiful sunny days. :) Hope you can give a another workshop in Montreal this year. William Sonoma has just opened and am sure you can do a book signing and a cooking demo.

  16. […] Alaskan black cod with a raw salad of beets, carrots and radishes […]

  17. Zoe says:

    I was reading something the other day about how there is this real push to encourage young children to eat so many different types of food and in adult form with so many flavours and it was saying that kids have different tastes just like adults. And that is ok. I know I am guilty of trying to encourage our daughter to eat everything under the sun but I have to learn that she is still so young and things will always change. I’m beginning to think it’s mostly about educating them about health and respect for good food as well as giving them a variety of experiences. And of course, enjoying the process! Great to know that is how your household works too! Cheers, Zoe

  18. Dena says:

    Beautiful post, and I love the sentiments about family meals. Due to allergies, the only foods that cannot come to our table are tree nuts and avocados. Still, we each have our own idiosyncratic way of how we like to plate our dinner: my daughter likes everything on one plate but no touching allowed. My son believes in a healthy dose of Sriracha sauce on EVERYTHING. I like ingredients on one plate so the taste and textures of a meal can come together, while my husband prefers separate plates, separate identities for each of the ingredients that make his….So, I have come to serve the same meal to everyone, family style, with all of the components of the menu is small serving dishes. As we pass the bowls around, I marvel at the care and creativity we each put into our menus. And the joy we take in nurturing ourselves together. Nothing fancy about that!

  19. Shelby says:

    What a truly stunning post and captivating glimpse into your darling family… Thank you for sharing… Lovely pictures and enticing recipes as always…

  20. What a beautiful post Aran that I can so relate too. My boy doesn’t do so well with cooked vegetables but he’ll more than happily chow through an entire bowlful of raw kale, my daughter on the other hand will give everything a go. While our family meals are far from fancy the most important thing for me is that we eat it together. Thanks for sharing with us a glimpse into your family life xx

  21. Manoli says:

    Growing up the youngest of nine siblings in a family quite poor in Spain, you don’t know how many times I’ve heard that: this is not a restaurant! We ate what mum put on the table, with no complaints, and were grateful for it. However, I was always aware that mum knew each of our preferences and likes and dislikes, and always made some little twists that had everyone happy. It was an art that I still don’t know how she mastered, but master she did! Almost about to celebrate mother’s day, and with her not here anymore, we miss her and miss her food, so much so that we opened a food bussiness with her name and soul! Beautiful dish, Aran.

  22. Alice Choi says:

    Hi Aran,
    sounds like a lovely day . . and what a lovely meal as well. . thank you so much for opening another class! I was going to sign up for Saturday 7/20 today and just read that it was full! I JUST signed up for the 21st! Very excited and can’t wait to absorb and learn. .

  23. Your one-meal idea is fantastic- the same motto ‘this is not a resturant’ I echo every time the husband demands his fancy dishes! And its good in a way to know that my daughter is not the only fussy eater in town, haha!

    But I bet your meals are gorgeous every time:-)

  24. Mallory says:

    So I don’t think anything I say will accurately describe how beautiful all of your pictures are and thus I will leave it at that.

  25. Aran, your family dinners sound very similar to ours. One meal, then the happy compromise for the sides. Thanks for sharing the lovely photos of your travels around Seattle. Nicola

  26. Rosemary Bliss says:

    Beautiful dish. Fresh ingredients always make the tastiest and prettiest dishes. I try to take a little extra care when serving meals at home and it does get noticed.

  27. cri says:

    Scusami ho troppo sonno per scriverti in inglese (pigra)…complimenti per la ricetta e le fotografie! un abbraccio cri

  28. That fish looks so, SO fresh. I love that you kept it simple and minimal but with such beautifully vivid colors.

    And that sounds like a nice and relaxing afternoon, I’ve heard the islands off the coast of Washington are just beautiful. I always imagine them to look like the one in Snow Falling on Cedars. And I bet that cooking for a variety of tastes everyday is not always easy! Sometimes I don’t even know what *I* want to eat for dinner :)

  29. YUM! Black cod!!!! Oh-so-good….

  30. I love your plate, your style and your picture..

    Not Only Sugar

  31. Beautiful recipe and beautiful serving. I always eat with my eyes first and with this meal I am not sure if it’s possible to start eating.

  32. Jill says:

    What a delicious photo… people who does not like fish might change their mind once they see this, yum!

  33. Loooove black cod! I imagine the wild alaskan kind is even better. Love the side salad too, it would be a nice sharp contrast to how rich/creamy black cod is.

  34. Delicious meal love it. I love your recipes Aran, I enjoy cooking from your amazing book. Simple, very healthy and delicious recipes and ingredients.

  35. Eileen says:

    Hello! I just discovered your blog, and I’m so happy I did! This cod recipe looks amazing. I can’t believe the colors of those root vegetables! Excuisite.

  36. Melissa says:

    Absolutely stunning. You’ve made those vegetables look beautiful with minimum effort. Think I might have a go at this recipe for a special dinner tomorrow night! Love the blog.

  37. what a lovely place..i love your photographs with the recipes and short stories..i´ll come backe.. :)

  38. saundra says:

    Oh my! Beautiful. I love your photographs and fresh, favorable dishes. The colors are so inspiring. I hope my tries at cooking these recipes turn out as good as they look on your lovely blog.

  39. Tiffany says:

    This looks delicious! Your photography is amazing, it makes the food look delicious and makes my mouth water. Thanks for sharing!

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  41. nusrat2010 says:

    They must be serving Salad this way in Paradise :)
    I could die a thousand deaths over that Fish Salad of yours which looks prettier than rainbow :)

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