Friday, January 21, 2011

How To Buy and Cook Maryland Rockfish

Striped bass, also known as rockfish, is the official state fish of Maryland.  It is known for its firm texture and delectable flavor.

According to Maryland Department of Agriculture, a three ounce cooked portion of Maryland rockfish contains 105 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, vitamins, minerals, .8 grams of omega-3 fatty acids and zero carbohydrates.  Omega-3 fatty acids are help in lowering cholesterol and have many other important benefits for eyes, skin and even mental health.

Rockfish may be poached in a seasoned broth and used in salads, soups, and even fish cakes.  A favorite is to simply brush the fish with a small amount of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper then bake at 450˚F for 10 minutes per inch of thickness of fish. This traditional Maryland fish is also delicious stuffed with crab imperial or an oyster dressing for special occasions or cut up into strips and fried for a tasty treat.

Look for the following when purchasing fresh rockfish:

Fresh fish should have a mild sea breeze aroma.

Whole fish should have bright, clear and shiny eyes.

Scales should be shiny and cling tightly to the skin.

Look for bright pink or red gills.

Steaks and fillets should be moist with firm and shiny flesh.

The flesh should spring back when pressed.

Look for Maryland rockfish at your favorite restaurant or retail market.  For a free striped bass recipe brochure call the Maryland Department of Agriculture at (410) 841-5972 or toll-free in Maryland 888-841-5828 or visit our website at www.marylandseafood.org.

ROCKFISH WITH LEMON AND CAPER DRESSING

MARYLAND ROCKFISH:

4 fillets, 6 to 8 ounces each, about 1 inch thick
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

DRESSING:

2 medium lemons (or 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


SEASONINGS:

1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Prepare the dressing: Cut a 1/2-inch slice off both ends of each lemon.  Cut each lemon in half lengthwise.  Lightly brush or spray the cut sides of the lemons with 1 teaspoon of the oil.  In a non-stick skillet, saut√© the lemons on high heat until nicely browned, 4 to 6 minutes, turning once.  Remove the lemons from the pan and cool.  Squeeze the lemons through a sieve into a small bowl.  Discard the rinds and seeds.  You should have about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.  Add the capers, then whisk in the 3 tablespoons oil to form a dressing.  Whisk in the rest of the dressing ingredients.

In a small bowl, mix the seasonings together.  Generously brush or spray the rockfish on both sides with remaining oil and seasonings.  Place fillets, skin side down on clean, slightly oiled pan.  Bake at 450˚F until the rockfish just begins to flake when you poke it with the tip of a knife about 10 minutes.  Whisk the dressing one last time.  Serve the fish with the dressing poured over the top.  Serves four.

source: Maryland Department of Agriculture

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