Blackened Alaskan Rock Fish

Yesterday morning started out with fog so thick I could barely see the end of the dock. I wasn’t sure if the FedEx plane would make it in, but by noon it had burned off and Monday turned out to be one of the nicest days of the year. After work, I took the dogs for a walk on our favorite trail, the Near Island South End. The South End Trail meanders through a lush forest of Sitka spruce and thick moss. After about a mile into the woods, the trail brings you to a breathtaking view of the St Herman, Dog Bay Harbor and the sleeping Bering Sea giants. The harbor is nearly full at this time of the year. A few of the boats are tendering herring around Kodiak Island, while others are making the final preparations to head out west for the Togiak Bay Herring Fishery in northwest Bristol Bay.

Dog Bay Harbor

With the weather so nice and the sun setting around 9:45, I decided what a great time to dust off the old barbecue grill and cook some blackened rockfish. I started with 1 pound of fresh rock fish from the F/V Pacific Sun.

 Fresh Rock Fish Fillet

I use Old Bay Blackened Seasoning mixed with Emeril’s Essence seasoning and a dash of garlic powder.

Spiced and ready for the skillet

Once the fillets are nicely coated with the blackened seasoning, I fired up the grill. It is always a good idea to do this outside, because it smokes big time!! With the grill on medium high, I place a cast iron skillet right on the grill. I use a laser thermometer, a must have for anyone serious about cooking seafood. I bought mine at the local auto parts store. It is important for maintaining proper cooking temperatures, especially if you are frying your fish. In this case, I want the pan to be about 450 degrees to get that nice blackened look. While the skillet is heating up, I took 2 red peppers, coated them in olive oil and placed them in a roasting pan. This took about 25 minutes at 425. Once the skillet is at the proper temperature, I added a tablespoon of melted butter and then quickly dropped the spiced fillets into the skillet. Watch out, the butter WILL splatter!!

Smoke and sizzling butter

Cooking times vary with the size of the fillet. In this case, the fillets were rather thick, so I went about 10 minutes on each side. Thinner fillets would require less time.

Just about done

After the fillets are fully cooked, I removed them from the skillet and brought them inside to plate up. The red peppers were finished as well. They have a sweet smell that fills the whole house. I sliced the pepper in half and placed the blackened rock fish fillet right on top. To go along with the meal, I sauteed a few zucchinis in olive oil. The result was a slightly spicy, juicy and succulent rock fish fillet complimented by the sweet and savory taste of the roasted red pepper.

Blackened Rockfish over roaster red pepper and zucchini

If this recipe looks like something you would like to try out for your friends and family, drop me a line and I would love to offer any advice and support. Until next time, happy seafood cooking, Enjoy!