By Gail Gordon Oliver

This is another one of those accidental recipes of mine. There was a butternut squash on the counter. I had leeks in the fridge. I’d picked up some gorgeous sablefish (black cod) filets at The Healthy Butcher. I love sautéed leeks as an accompaniment to fish. The thought crossed my mind that I could put the squash and the leeks together, et voilà! Bon appétit, mes amis.

I love fish and try to serve it more and more frequently at home. I only buy fish that is certified as sustainable. I have the Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise app on my mobile phone and always use it when purchasing fish. Check out for more information.



Photo by Gail Gordon Oliver

Makes 4 servings

Butternut squash and leek sauté

2 leeks (white and light green parts only)

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil

2 tbsp unsalted butter

1 butternut squash, peeled and seeded, shredded

3/4 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

pinch Aleppo pepper* or ground cayenne, plus more if desired

1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth

*Aleppo pepper is sold in Middle Eastern grocery stores


4 sablefish filets (about 7 oz each), or other meaty fish of your choice, rinsed in cold water and dried thoroughly

1 tbsp grapeseed oil

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Make the vegetable sauté: Julienne the leeks: Cut the leeks in half lengthwise. Cut each half into equal lengths of approximately 1 1/2 inches. Thinly slice each section of leek lengthwise into matchstick-sized strips.

In a large sauté pan or skillet over medium heat, heat the oil and butter until the butter is melted. Add the leeks and cook, stirring often, until the leeks are just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the shredded squash and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Gently stir in the salt, cumin, coriander, black pepper and Aleppo pepper. Cook for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to mediumlow. Stir in the broth. Cover the pan and cook until the squash is just tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and keep the pan partially covered.

Make the fish: Rub the top and bottom of each filet with the oil. Sprinkle the filets evenly with the salt and pepper. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over high heat until very hot. Place the filets skinside up in the pan, pressing down gently on each filet to ensure that the flesh makes contact with the skillet. Cook until the flesh is nicely browned, about 2 minutes. Carefully turn over each filet. Transfer the skillet to a 425° F oven. Cook until the fish is opaque and just barely cooked inside, 10 to 12 minutes. (The general rule of thumb for fish is to cook it a total of 10 minutes per inch of thickness.)

To serve: Place a portion of the squash and leek saute on each of four plates. Top each portion with a filet, skin-side up. (This is the correct way to present cooked fish; it represents the way one would always see a fish in its natural state.)