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Herby Coconut-Poached Alaska Rockfish Recipe on Food52

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Author Notes

A mild and tender fish, wild Alaska rockfish lends itself to bold flavors incredibly well. This recipe is inspired by the French technique fish à la nage, a method that requires poaching fish in stock or broth. Here, wild Alaska rockfish filets are poached in a mixture of coconut milk, jalapeño, ginger, cilantro, and lime for a fresh spiciness reminiscent of traditional Thai curries. This sustainable showstopper is made possible by the versatile wild rockfish that’ve been harvested in the area since the first humans settled in Alaska.

A whopping 37 species of rockfish—including Northern, canary, the perfectly pink Pacific ocean perch, and more—live in Alaska waters. To ensure a sustainable harvest, quotas are set for each species based on catch data from the previous year, then allocated among fishermen. Protecting the fish as well as their ecosystem is especially important because three species, including the Pacific ocean perch, represent over 90 percent of the harvest. —Rebecca Firkser

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is shared in partnership with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. —The Editors

  • Prep time
    15 minutes
  • Cook time
    5 minutes
  • Serves
    2 to 4
Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups

    roughly chopped fresh cilantro (leaves and stems), divided

  • 3

    garlic cloves

  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, roughly chopped


  • 1

    jalapeño, stemmed and halved (and seeded if desired)

  • 1

    (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    fish sauce (optional)

  • Kosher salt


  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • 2 tablespoons

    extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1

    medium yellow onion, finely chopped

  • 2 teaspoons

    ground cumin or coriander (or 1 teaspoon each)

  • 4

    (4 to 5 ounces each) Alaska rockfish filets (thawed, if frozen)

  • Cooked rice, for serving


  • Lime wedges, for serving

Directions
  1. Place 2 cups of the cilantro, garlic, ginger, and jalapeño in a blender with the coconut milk, 1 cup of water, and the fish sauce if using. Blend until very smooth, then season with salt and pepper to taste (you’ll need less salt if using fish sauce). Blend again to combine.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat until it starts to shimmer. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until translucent but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the cumin or coriander and cook for another 30 seconds, then pour in the cilantro puree. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low.
  3. Season the rockfish on both sides with salt and pepper, then add to the saute pan. Cover and cook until the fish is opaque and flakes easily when pulled with a fork, 6 to 10 minutes (the thicker the filets are, the longer they’ll take). The poaching liquid should stay brothy.
  4. Divide the fish and poaching liquid into bowls with rice. Top with remaining 1/2 cup chopped cilantro and serve with lime wedges for squeezing over.

Rebecca Firkser is the assigning editor at Food52. She used to wear many hats in the food media world: food writer, editor, assistant food stylist, recipe tester (sometimes in the F52 test kitchen!), recipe developer. These days, you can keep your eye out for her monthly budget recipe column, Nickel & Dine. Rebecca tests all recipes with Diamond Crystal kosher salt. Follow her on Instagram @rebeccafirkser.

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