Chesapeake Bay Rockfish – It’s what’s for Lent and Beyond!
Today is Ash Wednesday. Most recent years, it seems… I’ve let myself become too busy, out of town, and forgetful of the traditions that made up so much of my youth. This year I decided to change that. Not only was I able to attend noon mass, but I was also excited to end my fast with a hard won Chesapeake Bay Rockfish from an end of season fishing trip last October!
Chesapeake Bay Rockfish… it’s been on my mind all day! I was fortunate to enjoy a very cold, but productive October morning on the Chesapeake fishing for rockfish. We met up with friends, camped in our travel trailer with a generator to take the chill out of the air, and made camp in a field for the Tilghman Island Day; celebrating the Waterman of the Chesapeake Bay.
We enjoyed a wonderful Saturday sampling every manner of Chesapeake Bay Seafood, watching the docking contests with Captains ranging from age 8 -80, row boat races, anchor toss competitions, fish net construction, crab picking & oyster shucking contests, and much more to take us back to the early days on our beloved Chesapeake. After cocktails around a roaring campfire, we retire happy, and relaxed, warmed by the fire & alcohol, to our little camper for an early up for some sunrise rockfishing.
4:30 am comes quickly. The winds are blowing, and the temperature has dropped. We arrive at the dock to find the weather has deterred a couple from our fishing party, but we four are dressed warmly, and anxious to get on the bay! We enjoy a gorgeous sunrise, some pirate camaraderie, and s few hours of our hard won limit of Chesapeake Bay Rockfish! When we return to Baltimore City that afternoon, I vac-pack, and freeze our fillets for some cold winter days spent dreaming of the next rockfishing season. Today is that day.
Chesapeake Bay Rockfish Oven Poached in Tomatillo Salsa Recipe
Preheat Oven to 400 degrees F
- 10 oz Chesapeake Bay Rockfish Fillets
- 1 cup Tomatillo Salsa
- 1 small sweet onion chopped finely
- 1/4 cup diced mango
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 12 Country Olives pitted, sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon Hungarian Hot Paprika
- salt & pepper to taste
Mix salsa, onion, mango, garlic, olives, paprika, salt & pepper in a small bowl. Lightly oil a loaf pan. Put a small amount of the bottom of the pan. Evenly layer Chesapeake Rockfish Fillets, turning under the thin ends for uniform thickness. Cover and bake for approximately 35 minutes, uncovering for the final 10 minutes to allow sauce to thicken a bit. Fish should be flaky & moist.
Petite Pea and Corn Risotto
Pressure Cooker Method – Makes extra for another meal or several sides
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sweet butter
- 1 small sweet onion diced finely
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 5 cups vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons sherry or brandy
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup frozen corn small kernels – thawed
- 1 cup frozen petite peas – thawed
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup chive & onion whipped cream cheese (plus extra for topping if desired)
With cooker’s cover off heat oil & butter till sizzling. Cook onion a few minutes till translucent. Stir in rice, and cook about a minute. Add stock, sherry or brandy, garlic, and bay leaf. Secure the cover tightly, and cook 6 minutes on high. Quickly release the pressure when done.
While rice cooks, puree half of the peas & corn. When the pressure release is done, stir in puree, peas & corn, cream cheese, salt & pepper to taste. Let sit a few minutes to thicken. Top with an additional teaspoon of cream cheese if desired.
Serve stacked as shown using a ring, and letting the fish broth slightly flow over to pool around the risotto. Garnish with lemon & a spoonful of cream cheese (quenelle).