When I was a little girl, my friends down the street dreaded Friday night’s dinner. They were Catholic and that meant fish, typically fried fish sticks. To me it sounded pretty good, but maybe that was because we weren’t Catholic and didn’t have to eat fish once a week.
Fresh fish is something I love and only recently have tried to make it a part of our weekly menu. The fish at the local grocery storestypically doesn’t appeal to me, for many reasons. Although it’s promoted as fresh, it’s probably freshly frozen and then thawed for display. Once in awhile, there might be something that strikes my fancy, but inevitably the one piece I buy, is the piece that won’t last until the next day, should I decide to wait.
But “our crops are saved,” as Lou will say. On Tuesdays at The Town Duck in Warrenton, Bibi sends out an e-mail listing fresh fish, and I stress fresh, that she’s offering for the week’s end. The list might include Farmed European Salmon, Arctic Char, Wild Rockfish, Sea Scallops, Skate, Flounder, Cod, Wild Chilean Sea Bass, Shad Roe or whatever is running at the time.
You could say I’m a fish snob, but in my book, fish is the one food you definitely don’t want to fool with if it isn’t fresh. It’s my understanding that The Town Duck’s fish comes from the same supplier that the finer restaurants in the area use. I’ve found that if I pick it up on Friday and can’t use it until Sunday, I needn’t worry (although I’m not recommending anyone do this). So unless you can go out with your own rod and reel, I would highly recommend that you ask to be put on their e-mail list or stop by on Friday and ask if they have any extra fish.
Rockfish is a white fish; this one measured an inch thick. More and more I think the less one does with fresh foods the better they taste. So my recipe is simple.
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 pound fresh rockfish cut into two pieces
freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°. Grease a baking dish with the olive oil and place the fillets in the dish. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper, and a pat of butter on each piece and then place it in the oven for 15 minutes. Just before taking it out of the oven, turn the broiler on and cook for another two or three minutes, watching to be sure not to burn it. Garnish with a thin slice of lemon and parsley.