A Hearty Valentine
Here's a sentimental offering to show your loved one that
you care on Valentines Day. Instead of wearing your heart
on your sleeve, why not offer it on a dinner plate? California
rockfish baked in parchment is elegant, yet so easy to prepare.
You'll impress your sweetheart and maybe even yourself!
About California Rockfish
"Turn the fillet skinside up and it's Pacific red snapper.
Flip it over and it's rock cod," a fish market owner explains.
Whatever it's called, rockfish is one of the most important
fish families in California seas. It is also among the most
versatile of seafoods, and among the most diverse of California's
fisheries. California's rockfish family contains about 59
species, most of them desirable at market. California law
provides that 13 of the most abundant species may be marketed
under the common name Pacific red snapper. However, none of
these fish are actually a true red snapper, an Atlantic species
not found on the west coast. What's more, talk to any fisherman
about his catch and you'll hear names like "reds" and "brownies,"
"chuckles" and "Johnny bass," not to mention idiot fish, white
bellies, bolinas and roseys. To make matters more interesting,
each species has its own life history patterns, habitat preferences
and migration routes, although rockfish are thought to be
essentially nonmigratory in the broad sense of the word. Traditionally
most rockfish were harvested by fishermen using longlines.
As gear has become more efficient, so have rock cod catch
methods. Today, longliners, hookandliners, deepwater gillnetters
and trawlers all work hard to deliver topquality local rockfish
to market. In 1995 California rockfish landings totaled an
estimated 17.6 million pounds, all species combined. California's
rockfish fishery is strictly regulated by the Pacific Fishery
Management Council under rules and regulations mandated by
the federal Magnuson Fishery Management and Conservation Act.