Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Whole Rockfish

I had never purchased seafood from H Mart before. It seemed we never went early enough in the day to miss the crowds clustered around the array of fresh whole fish. But this time, we were among three whole people perusing the selection and jumped at the chance to make a whole fish for dinner. It all looked so good, and there were so many varieties, but we settled on rockfish because: 1) we knew what it tasted like; 2) I was pretty confident that I could prepare it successfully.

I found a recipe on teh Innernets and adapted it for the ingredients we had on hand. Luckily, we had purchased lemons, limes, and, on a whim, lemongrass, all integral to the original recipe.


The Raw

I thought we could make the baby bok choy we also purchased, along with some shiitake mushrooms, with the fish in our new non-stick roasting pan. (My brother-in-law delivered it last weekend. I admired his after it cleaned up so nicely post-Thanksgiving-feasting, and he thought we should have one of our own. Thanks, Craig!)

Baked Rockfish with Citrus

1 whole rockfish, about 2 - 3 lb, cleaned
juice and zest of 1 lime
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
2 dried red chiles, broken into pieces
1 stick lemongrass, sliced
3 scallions, chopped
cilantro
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and cracked pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 400F.  Mix the lemongrass, chiles, lime and lemon zest, and olive oil.

Make three diagonal cuts into the fish on both sides. Place in a roasting pan. Salt and pepper the cavity and stuff with about 3/4 of the lemongrass mixture. Pour citrus juices into cuts on fish and top with remainder of the lemongrass and oil.

Roast in oven for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of your fish.


The Cooked

Despite the exotic flavors, the fish was a bit on the bland side. It was extremely moist and tender though. The shiitakes took on a silky texture that was quite pleasing, and the bok choy were perfectly cooked - crunchy and juicy. But despite what I thought was a thorough cleaning with a long soaking, they were still a tad sandy.


I served the dish with rice and garnished it with cilantro and chopped scallions. I also made a little lemon butter to pour over the bok choy. But it needed something to add oompfh. At least to my palate - I'm sure other people would find the flavorings just fine.