Rockfish are primarily found in the Pacific Ocean, although you can find a few species in the Atlantic. The more than 50 species found in Pacific waters include the Pacific red snapper, black bass, rock cod, Pacific Ocean perch, widow rockfish and canary rockfish. The meat of the fish is lean with a medium-firm texture and a fine flake. While the texture lends itself to a variety of cooking methods, roasting or broiling rockfish in the oven preserves the light flavor and keeps the calorie count low.
Things You'll Need
Grease or oil
Cut a whole rockfish, if desired, into fillets about 1-inch thick, which is thick enough to allow enough time to develop a good color without overcooking the flesh. Alternatively, you can bake or broil a whole rockfish in the oven and separate the cooked meat into individual portions. You must remove the head, tail, scales and guts from a whole fish if still intact. Wash and dry the fish thoroughly.
Preheat your oven to 350 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. While you can bake fish as high as 450 degrees F, the lower heat cooks the fish more slowly and prevents it from drying out. Alternatively, turn on your broiler. Broiling it quickly will also keep the fish moist.
Grease a baking pan to prevent sticking, but use minimal fat. Lean rockfish actually benefits from the addition of some fat, but you don't want to overwhelm the fish and add unnecessary calories. Try olive oil as a healthy alternative to butter and shortening.
Place the rockfish fillets side by side in the baking dish, or simply set the whole fish in the center of the dish. Add seasoning to taste, such as lemon, garlic, pepper, salt, or try a seafood seasoning blend. If you're cooking a whole rockfish, you can stuff the inside with ingredients such as onion slivers, garlic cloves and lemon wedges to flavor the meat on the inside.
Bake or broil the fish until the fillets or whole fish reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees F; insert a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the fish to determine the temperature. Whole rockfish can take 40 to 60 minutes to bake, depending on the oven temperature and the size of the fish. Fillets can take as little as 30 minutes. If broiling the fish, broil the fillets about 4 inches from source of heat for about five minutes, flip, and then broil the other side for five minutes until they reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. The finished rockfish flesh should be opaque to off-white in color and flake easily with a fork.
The light flavor of rockfish pairs well with practically any sauce from any cuisine, including creamy sauces, soy-based Asian sauces, and spicy Mexican sauces.
- The Seattle Times: There's Nothing Hard About Cooking Rockfish
- Betty Crocker: Baked Rockfish
- Saveur: Salt-Baked Fish
- The Crab Place: Baked Rockfish with Potatoes
- Cooking Light My Recipes: Easy Baked Fish Fillets
- Coast2Coast: Spicy Broiled Rockfish – Maryland State Fish
- USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service: Safe Minimum Internal Temperature Chart