The abundant black rockfish fishing season is now in full swing off the entire coast, and many anglers at Ilwaco, Westport, La Push and Neah Bay are loading up on these tasty fillets.
Rockfish fishing seasons in local waters from Port Angeles in the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca into Puget Sound is closed, but anglers from Sekiu in western Strait to Neah Bay and off the coast may retain certain species of rockfish. Anglers should check for specifcs on rockfish in the state Fish and Wildlife regulation pamphlet.
In this week’s Seafood Recipe of the Week, Anthony’s Restaurant Chef Pat Donahue offers a wonderful recipe on how to prepare and wow your next guests at the dinner table. Anthony’s will contribute some of their cooking advice and recipes for the Reel Time Fishing NW blog in our Catch of the Week each Wednesday. Other contributing experts are Chef Tom Douglas; Tiffany Haugen, Outdoor Cooking expert/author; tackle shop owners; local seafood-market owners; and fishing guides and charter services.
Here is some history and advice from Chef Donahue on how to prepare a tasty blackened rockfish recipe:
Rockfish, also known as Pacific rockfish, come in more than 100 species and many different shapes, sizes and color patterns. Colors can vary from black and dark olive green to bright orange and red. They may have either stripes or splotches on their skin. Rockfish are known for the bony plates on their heads and bodies and the heavy spines on their fins.
The white meat of rockfish is firm in texture, low in fat and known for its mild, sweet flavor. When purchasing rockfish, you will want to look for glistening, unmarred white filets that show no signs of gaping, browning or drying.
Rockfish are best when prepared baked, broiled, poached or sautéed. Since the filets tend to be delicate and fragile, they should be handled carefully. They are not the best fish for grilling. Since the flavor of rockfish is so mild, Chef Pat loves to season the fish with blackfish seasonings and serve with a refreshing peach mango relish.
Blackened Rockfish with Peach Mango Relish
2 pounds skinless rockfish fillets
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or light olive oil
6 teaspoons blackfish seasoning (Paul Prudhomme Blackened Redfish Magic Seasoning)
½ each large, ripe mango peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces
½ each large, ripe peach peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces
½ ounce slivered, red onions
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon seeded, finely diced jalapeno pepper
10-12 sprigs flat parsley (leaves, no stems)
Procedure for Relish:
Peel and cut mango and peach into ½ inch pieces. Mix 1 tablespoon lime juice with 1 tablespoon honey and toss to taste with remaining ingredients. Adjust with more honey or lime juice as needed.
Procedure for Fish:
Heat thick bottomed pan (or cast iron skillet) to medium high heat. Coat pan and fish with oil and dust fish liberally with blackfish seasoning on both sides. Place presentation side of the fish (opposite of skin side) down on pan. Cook for 1 ½ to 2 minutes, or until the spices have caramelized to a deep golden color (not burnt).
Turn and finish cooking until the internal temperature reads 140-145 degrees (about 1 more minute). Plate and serve with the peach mango relish.
Yields: Four servings