Seafood Recipes

ENTREE: California Rockfish in Parchment

1 pound California rockfish fillets
8 thin slices lemon
4 sprigs fresh tarragon fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 tsp. butter (optional) nonstick cooking spray
8 twelve-inch parchment hearts

Divide the fillets into 4 servings. Determine cooking time by measuring the thickness of each fillet. Figure cooking time at 10 minutes per inch of thickness, plus another 5 minutes for cooking in a sealed package.

Lay 4 of the parchment hearts on the counter. Lightly coat each with cooking spray. Place a portion of fish in the center of each heart and season with pepper. Top each with 2 slices of lemon, a sprig of tarragon and 1/2 teaspoon of butter. Place the remaining hearts on top of each fillet. Starting at the tip of each heart, seal the bottom and top heart together by folding over and crimping the edges tightly. A tight seal allows steam to build up during cooking and this causes the heart to puff up.

Nutrition (per serving): calories 133; protein 22 gm; carbohydrate 3 gm; fat 4.8 gm; cholesterol 44 mg; sodium 88 mg

Transfer the hearts onto 2 baking sheets and place in a preheated 450º F oven and cook for the length of time determined above.

Serve hearts on individual dinner plates. Pass a pair of small shears around the table and let each guest cut through the center of their heart. Serves 4.

Heart Hint:
Hearts may be cut from cooking parchment or aluminum foil. Cooking parchment is found in most cooking and grocery stores. To make hearts, place 4 twelve­inch sheets of parchment together and fold in half. Imagine a half heart, then begin at the bottom of the fold and cut up, making a freehand half heart. This will make 2 hearts; to make more hearts, repeat the process.

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.

California Seafood Council, PO Box 91540,		Santa Barbara, CA 93190 +1-805-569-8050