Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Rockfish Kabobs in Classic Greek Marinade

By now, followers of this blog may recognize that I cook a lot with rockfish.  Also known as striped bass, rockfish are the state fish of Maryland.  The species is also somewhat of a success story when it comes to sustainability.  It was not looking good for the Chesapeake rockfish, which -- like oysters and blue crabs -- was overfished.  The populations in the bay reached historic lows. It got so bad that the State of Maryland actually banned the fishing of rockfish.  The ban did not last long, because the populations of rockfish in the Chesapeake Bay began to rebound.  And, over the past fifteen years, the population of rockfish have gone from historic lows to record highs.

While the sustainability of the rockfish appeals to me, I also find that it is a great fish cook with.  Rockfish fillets are usually thick enough to prepare with any cooking process ... whether it is grilling, frying or broiling.  In addition, the fillets are also substantial enough to handle just about any rub or marinade.  A found one such interesting marinade in Dishing Up Maryland.  It comes from the Black Olive Restaurant in Baltimore Maryland.  The Black Olive is a highly rated restaurant in Fell's Point that is owned and operated by the Spiliadis family.  While I have not dined at the Black Olive, it is on my list of places to try.  As for this recipe, it turned out very well and, like the Grilled Confetti Rockfish, it will be on my short list of recipes to make again whenever I have some rockfish in the fridge.

Recipe from Dishing Up Maryland at 128
Serves 2

2 thick rockfish fillets, cut into 1.5 or 2 inch cubes
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, cut into 1.5 or 2 inch cubes
2 large red onions, peeled and cut into quarters or eighths
2/3 cup of olive oil
1/3 cup of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1.  Prepare the skewers.  Soak four 10 inch bamboo skewers in water for 1 hour.  Remove them from the water, pat them dry, and assemble the kabobs on the skewers, alternating pieces of the fish, pepper, and onion.  Place the kabobs into a shallow glass baking dish.

2.  Prepare the marinade and marinade the skewers.  Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, oregano and pepper in a blender and blend at high speed until the mixture emulsifies.  Pour the mixture over the  kabobs and put them in the refrigerator to marinate for at least ten or fifteen minutes; turn the kabobs over and let them marinate for another ten or fifteen minutes.

3.  Grill the kabobs.  Heat a gas or charcoal grill to high.  Remove the kabobs from the marinade and grill them for about three minutes on one side.  Turn the kabobs and grill them for an additional two minutes, until the rockfish is cooked through.  Serve immediately.


Given this recipe calls for a "classic Greek marinade," I think a classic Greek wine is in order.  A Moschofilero is a white grape varietal that is cultivated in the Peloppenese that produces a bright, citrus flavored wine that goes very well with the rockfish, as well as the grilled onions.  Other white wines, especially lighter wines, could also work well with this dish.  Here are a couple of suggestions:

Voyatzis Wineries -- Kyklos Moschofilero
100% Moschofilero
Peloppenese, Greece
Flavors of grapefruit, melon and honeydew

Hughes Beaulieu -- Picpoul de Pinet (2010) 
100% Picpoul de Pinet
Languedoc, France
Flavors of grapefruit, lemon and lime


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