Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cooking Class At The North Carolina Aquarium. Tuesday, March 23.

Last Tuesday, Glowria, Mr. Hawthorne, and I went back to the North Carolina Aquarium in Manteo for another cooking class. Chef Jason Smith of the Black Pelican in Kitty Hawk gave the demonstration. Tuesday's offerings were rockfish, rockfish, and rockfish.
Our first offering was Seared Rockfish Vera Cruz. Second was Blue Cornmeal encrusted Rockfish in Tequila sweet corn Mojo with fresh sage. Third was a Caribbean Rockfish Mojo. We were in the back of the room at this presentation so all I could get were shots of the monitors and the backs of heads.
Don't worry. "Recipes" are forthcoming.
That's the wonderful Beth, the Aquarium's Special Activities Coordinator, regaling our group about the marvels of rockfish. Rockfish, aka striped bass, is a long-lived species, living up to thirty years of age. They are commonly found from Maine through North Carolina, but can range as far north as the St. Lawrence River in Canada and as far south as the St. John's River in Florida. For centuries, rockfish has been one of the most important fisheries on the Atlantic Coast. Regulations for this species date back to pre-Colonial times when rockfish were prohibited from being used as fertilizer, circa 1640. In 1973, commercial harvest peaked at almost 15 million pounds. However, overfishing and poor environmental conditions led to the collapse of the fishery in the 1980's, with a low of 3.5 million pounds in 1983. In the 1980's, many states recognized the precarious situation the rockfish population was in. The Atlantic Striped Bass Conservation Act was established in 1984 so that coastal states had the necessary tools to effectively and cooperatively manage and conserve rockfish stocks. Many states closed their commercial fisheries, allowing the rockfish popluation to rebuild. In 1995, the Atlantic coastal rockfish stocks were declared fully recovered. Since being rebuilt in 1995, rockfish has served as a model for successful fisheries management. Since 2003, commercial harvest has averaged nearly 7 million pounds. Rockfish has increasingly become an important recreational fish. With the declaration of restored status, harvest increased from 12.6 million pounds in 1995 to a record 29.3 million pounds in 2006. Atlantic rockfish are managed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. The Commission monitors the health of this stock to ensure that past conditions are not repeated, setting regulations including size limits and quotas.
Seared Rockfish Vera Cruz.
Ingredients: rockfish salt and pepper flour oil butter garlic, minced onion, diced bay leaf capers green olives Kalamata olives white wine canned diced tomatoes parsley crushed red pepper cinnamon feta cheese Chef Smith uses either a light olive oil or a vegetable oil in combination with butter, not an Extra Virgin olive oil, which would tend to overpower the delicate flavor of rockfish. Heat oil and butter. Add onion and garlic and let sweat a bit. Add in bay leaf, capers, olives. Pour in white wine. Pour in tomatoes and let simmer. Add in parsley, red pepper, and cinnamon to taste. Dredge rockfish fillets in flour, salt, and pepper, shaking off excess. Sear both sides in oil and butter, undercooking a bit. Transfer to baking dish, add a little white wine, and bake in a 375 - 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes, or until fish flakes easily. Pour Vera Cruz sauce over top of fish and sprinkle with feta.
Next we had blue cornmeal encrusted rockfish in tequila sweet corn mojo with fresh sage. This was my favorite of the three. Ingredients: rockfish salt and pepper blue cornmeal (Of course, you can use yellow.) shaved, smashed corn (Chef Smith used a grater on the corn.) tequila cream diced white onion diced sweet bell peppers (For the pretty, I'd use green, yellow, orange, and red.) Dredge rockfish in cornmeal, salt, and pepper, shaking off excess. Sear in oil and butter Now, you can build the mojo with the fish still in the pan, or you can do it separately. Oil in pan. Add diced onion and peppers and let sweat. Pour in tequila and let it cook off. Add shaved corn, sage, and cream. Salt and pepper. Pour sauce over fish.
Our last offering was almost a dessert type - Caribbean Rockfish Mojo.
Ingredients: rockfish panko brown sugar salt and pepper rum chopped mango chopped banana chopped pineapple onion jerk spice diced sweet pepper cream butter cilantro Coco Lopez Sear panko'd rockfish in oil and butter. Saute onions and peppers. Add in pineapple, mango, and banana. Pour in dark rum. Add in cilantro, Caribbean jerk spice, butter, brown sugar, salt and pepper, Coco Lopez, and cream.
Here's the osprey cam.


Anonymous said...

"In 1995, the Atlantic coastal rockfish stocks
were declared fully recovered."
Maybe they went too far.
River herring fishing, dating back 350 years, is now prohibited in NC, partially due to increased predation from the recovering striped bass population.
Now they've got to get their herring from another state, instead from the river which runs through the town. Kinda sad, even if rockfish tastes better than herring.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Well, Anony, there you have it.
What are we to do?