Thursday, June 21, 2012

Grilled Confetti Rockfish

A few weeks back, I bought a cookbook from Black Ankle Vineyards.  The book is called Dishing Up Maryland, 150 recipes from the Alleghenies to the Chesapeake Bay.  It is a fascinating mix of recipes and stories.  The recipes are drawn from every corner of the Free State and incorporate a lot of local ingredients, such as rockfish from the Chesapeake Bay.  As for the stories, they provide an interesting insight into the small, local producers who have devoted their lives to their crafts.   

While paging through the book, one recipe caught my eye.  It is a recipe from the Brome Howard Inn for Confetti Rockfish.  The Inn at Brome Howard is a mid-nineteeth century plantation house built by Dr. Brome for his wife.   The plantation grew tobacco and wheat.  The house was passed through generations of Bromes and Howards, until it was bought by the State of Maryland in the 1970s.  The house was restored and converted into a bed and breakfast.

The "breakfast" part was apparently provided by the "Brome Howard Inn." However, it appears that the "Brome Howard Inn" is no longer connected with the "Inn at Brome Howard.  This is unfortunate, because the Confetti Rockfish recipe is very good.  Both Clare and I loved this dish. 

I will definitely make this recipe again, as well as other recipes from Dishing Up Maryland.  I would add one note about the instructions for this recipe ... the cooking times may need some adjustment.  As with any protein, the cooking times depend upon the thickness of the meat.  The recipe calls for three minutes a side; however, when I made this dish, I think that my rockfish fillet was a little thicker than the average, because three minutes per side were not enough.  It took about four to five minutes per side.  

Recipe from Dishing Up Maryland at page 66
Serves 4
1 1/2 to 2 pounds of rockfish fillets, skin-on
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup of carrot, finely diced
1/4 red bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup of onion, finely diced
1/2 cup tomato, finely diced
1/4 cup cucumber, finely diced
2 tablespoons of cilantro, finely diced
1 tablespoon of lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups of cooked couscous
Lemon or lime slices

1. Prepare the fish.  Prepare the grill.  Clean the rockfish by trimming away any belly fat and fins.  Score the skin two or three times in opposite directions to just below the surface of the skin using a sharp knife and being careful not to cut deeply (this prevents curling of the fillet during cooking).  If necessary, cut the fillets into more manageable sizes.  

2.  Make the confetti salsa.  Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet.  Add the carrot, red pepper and onion, and saute over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.  Remove from the heat and stir in the tomato , cucumber, cilantro and lime juice.

3.  Cook the rockfish.  Brush the rockfish fillets on both sides with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.  Sprinkle the fish with the salt and pepper and place the pieces skin side up on the grill for 3 minutes on each side, being careful not to overcook.

4.  Plate the dish.  Mound the couscous evenly on four plates, or on one large platter if serving family style.  Lay the fish over the couscous.  Spoon the salsa over the fish.  Garnish with lemon or lime slices.


To complete this Maryland inspired dish, I decided to pair the Confetti Rockfish with a Maryland wine.  I decided to go lighter and fruitier with a Pinot Grigio from Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyards.  Other white wines, such as such as a Viognier or an Albariño.  Here are a couple of suggestions:

Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyards -- Pinot Grigio (2011)
100% Pinot Grigio
Comus, Maryland, USA
Flavors of green apple, citrus and a finish of hazelnut

Black Ankle Vineyard -- Viognier (2009)
Mt. Airy, Maryland, USA
Flavors of pear, vanilla and mild oak flavors.


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