More local seafood–Black Gill Rockfish

Vic and I finally made it down to the Dory Fleet fish market at Newport Pier last weekend. We got there fairly late in the morning (9:30 am), and there was only one vendor still open. The others had sold out and closed shop. They open at 5:30 am, and there is a line already even that early. I am not a morning person, so I went late and took my chances. It paid off.

Lots of fish still leftThere were still plenty of fish left. When the guys sell almost out, they give their remaining fish to the last vendor to sell. Leslie had plenty of Black Cod (aka Sea Trout) not pictured. I don’t like them and neither does Vic. Their texture is slimy and the flavor not to my liking either. I don’t remember what the gray fish in the foreground were, or the three orange-red fish above them, but the mass of red fish at the top left are Black Gill Rockfish. That was what we went for. The dory fleet website posts what fishermen are catching what species, and I was able to look them up. These fish are like red snapper, if you ask me. The flesh was firm and delicious.

They clean the fish for you.

They clean the fish for you.

We asked the guy cleaning and filleting them to save the head and spine for us so we could make fish chowder.

Off went the fins, and into a plastic bag went the filets.

Off went the fins, and into a plastic bag went the filets. We opted to have the skin left on.

One medium sized rockfish made two nice filets.

One medium sized rockfish made two nice filets.

I coated the filets with olive oil and salt, and laid them on a bed of fresh thyme and Meyer lemon slices. The lemon and thyme were from our garden.

I coated the filets with olive oil and salt, and laid them on a bed of fresh thyme and Meyer lemon slices. The lemon and thyme were from our garden.

I laid the fish on aluminum foil on top of a smoker tray and grilled them on our gas grill inside our Williams-Sonoma smoker basket over hickory wood chips.

These are the filets ready for grilling. I couldn't have fit more than two into our little smoker basket.

These are the filets ready for grilling. I couldn’t have fit more than two into our little smoker basket.

I grilled a mix of asparagus, snow peas and onion in a grill basket, and that was our dinner.

I grilled a mix of asparagus, snow peas and onion in a grill basket, and that was our dinner.

The snow peas and onion were from our garden. This was yet another adventure in locally sourced seafood, with homegrown vegetables. Doesn’t get much healthier or more local than this.

We also bought a 4-lb bag of sand dabs, a locally caught small flounder-type fish. I cooked four of them for a different meal, and froze the rest for later use.

The Dory Fleet market also had several bags of octopus, but I have no clue how to cook octopus. I do like eating them, so I may give it a try. My old landlord from Connecticut days, Joe Passanesi, made the best octopus salad. He boiled the octopus, sliced the tentacles, and dressed the slices with olive oil, garlic, parsley, and vinegar. I assume that one tosses out the head. Has anyone cooked octopus? How did you prepare it?

Stay tuned for further adventures of the piscine kind. (Is that the right word?)

About Lou Murray, Ph.D.

I'm a professional writer/photographer, avid gardener, and active environmentalist living in southern California. I am retired from writing a weekly newspaper column on environmental topics in the Huntington Beach Independent, but I am still teaching at the Orange County Conservation Corps. This blog chronicles my efforts to live a green life growing as much food as possible for my husband and myself on a 4,500 sq ft yard that is covered mainly by house, garage, driveway, and sidewalks.
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2 Responses to More local seafood–Black Gill Rockfish

  1. Norma Chang says:

    Oh how I envy your fresh caught fish. Love how you prepare your rockfish and with your homegrown produce, what a delicious treat!!!!! I am drooling.

  2. Wonderful introduction to under-utilized fish, fresh as can be!

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