On this very cold day, I wanted to head to the vault and bring back a little taste of summer. The Thomas family made our annual trek to Chestertown, MD last week and it was our wildest fishing year to-date. Usually we are catching little perch and anything in the less than 1/2 lb. range like CRAZY! Tons of little guys off the deck and then maybe a few 3-4 lb. catfish. Lots of fun and nice and easy. This year, the evenings were brining a strong wind from the south and a perfect balance of the tides bringing all kinds of bigger fish our way. We caught a bunch of really beautiful rockfish, which are also known as striped bass. They are a classic Maryland and Chesapeake fish and it was very exciting to be catching them late into the evenings. We also hooked a 40lb. skate and my dad and mom put on a master class on pulling it in on a 10 lb. line. It was seriously amazing stuff. I capped off my week with a 5 lb. rockfish that I cleaned and gutted - under the extremely watchful eye of my dad - and then cooked up for my parents, Mark, and my aunt and uncle. It was the perfect night out on the dock, beautiful sunset, and a delicious fish. To the fish!
Whole Oven Roasted Rockfish serves 6-8 people
1 5 lb. Whole Rockfish (scaled and gutted)
1 bunch dill
1 bunch parsley
1 small onion
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
Me and my beauty!
In our house, if you want to keep it, you have to clean it yourself.
1. When you buy a whole fish, you can ask them to scale and gut the fish. I like to leave the head on for more flavor and the beautiful presentation. Snip the funs and tail and line a pan with foil. You want to thoroughly was the fish with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.
2. Prepare all of your ingredients, slice the onion and the lemon into circles and wash and dry the herbs.
3. Score the skin by making vertical slices on each side. This will help the fish cook more evenly. Rub the fish inside and out with olive oil and then sprinkle generously with the salt and pepper.
4. Spread out all of the onion, a few lemon slices and half of the herbs on the bottom of your pan and place the fish on top. Place 4-5 pieces of lemon inside the fish cavity and then place the remaining pieces of lemon and the rest of the herbs on top.
5. Cover tightly with foil and bake in a 375 degree oven for 35 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and carefully remove the foil - hot steam will be coming out. Put the uncovered fish back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes to get a crispy skin.
6. The fish is cooked when it is opaque, but will still be very tender and juicy. Cooking the fish on the bone and in the skin adds lots of flavor and also makes this dish much more forgiving as far as cooking time because the fish is less likely to dry out.
7. We served with roasted potatoes and a fresh garden salad.
And the beautiful sunset and company didn't hurt.