Rockfish season is finally upon us. Yesssss. What a weird turn of events from five years ago when all we wanted was tuna instead of rockfish, and now we’re seeing so much tuna that we want rockfish again. Too funny. Who would’ve thought that we’d offer friends and neighbors bluefin, only to be hit with a reply of, “No thanks – I’m good.” Even funnier, now that rockfish season is here, the bluefin are already back, and recent counts in our local waters are solid. No complaints here. Both are amazing in their own ways, but there’s something true about too much of a good thing. We need diversity, variety, and some curveballs in life, including what we eat. So, after a long season of pelagics on the menu, it’s nice to hook up (and plate up) some mild, white, flaky rockfish. Check out this delicious rockfish pilaf with chard recipe that’s quick, easy, and good for you.
(Right) Rachel VonFleck with a couple local deep water rockfish.
I’ve been busy with some new things at BD Outdoors (videos are on the horizon), so since I haven’t fished, I was lucky to get my first beautiful rockfish fillets from someone I’ve been friends with for 30 years. This person is loaded with fishing knowledge. This person fishes inshore, offshore, in the surf, lagoons – everywhere. This person fishes ten times more than the average angler. And this person happens to be a woman. I am so stoked on our group of local female anglers it’s crazy. Women like Jen Weissman, Rachel Von Fleck, Robyn Yoshihiro, Michelle Humphrey, and Kelly Castaneda are just a handful of the female anglers in our region that are here to stay. They aren’t pretentious, they aren’t looking for attention, and they aren’t seeking accolades – they just fish and they fish hard. After centuries of this male-dominated sport (with a few exceptions, of course), I look forward to the future of sharing the rail and shorelines, and personally documenting some of these powerful women on the water.
Next Recipe: Thai Mussels
Jen Weissman with a proper California Sheepshead – another delicious choice for countless recipes.
For now, it’s back to the fresh rockfish and this week’s recipe. Chatting with a buddy last week, he said, “Trout, I love your recipes; they’re amazing and definitely challenging. But honestly, I’m a six-ingredient kind of guy, and I’d love a simple, straight-forward recipe I can make on the fly.” I get it. And I want this to be a resource for angler/chefs of ALL skill levels. So, I took some rockfish, some rice pilaf from the pantry, some chard from my garden, and kept it simple. Always remember that if I post something complicated, you can feel free to edit and simplify. There are no rules, so you cook for you.
Recipe: Rockfish Pilaf with Chard
- Rockfish fillets cut into individual servings and patted dry
- Kosher sea salt & fresh cracked pepper
- 1 TBSP B & O Lemon EVOO and 2 TBSP butter (depends on portions)
- Fresh Meyer lemon juice to taste
- 6 cups freshly chopped chard
- 2 TBSP B & O Lemon EVOO and 2 TBSP B & O White Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 shallot - minced
- 3 cloves of garlic - minced
- Fresh dill - minced (to taste)
- ½ cup white wine (I use Ziobaffa Pinot Grigio)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Rice Pilaf:
- Favorite rice pilaf, wild rice (or other rice of preference)
- Pat the fish dry and season with salt & pepper. If you want to add additional seasonings like onion powder, garlic powder, etc., feel free, but trying to keep it simple this week.
- Mince, chop, and slice your produce so you’re prepared.
- Put your wild rice on the stove and cook per directions.
- With the rice cooking, put your oil and butter in the pan and sauté your seasoned fish. Once done, squeeze lemon juice over the top, and then place on a warm plate.
- In the same pan (without removing any brown bits, liquid, etc.), add the shallots for a few minutes, then the garlic for a few minutes, and then carefully add the wine. This will deglaze the pan and be the base of your super flavorful chard.
- Add all the chard, salt, pepper and the white balsamic, and stir until everything is incorporated. Keep on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring occasionally until done.
- Plate the chard on the bottom as your base, then the rice pilaf, then the fish, and lastly the fresh lemon juice and dill over the top of the whole dish.