The friendly man behind the counter at my local fish market was bemoaning the decline of the family fish dinner. “Cod or haddock to feed a family of four could cost $30. That’s not a week-night dinner, that’s a special occasion.”
The Lenten season brings back memories of childhood Friday night fish dinners. For just slightly more than price of fish sticks and tater tots (and definitely less than pizza delivery) you can put a healthy dinner in front of your family. To do so, branch out from the old standbys and try lesser-known fish species. Hake and pollock, for example, are easily substituted for cod or haddock. Whenever possible, chose wild-caught over farmed and local over imported. Buying locally-caught seafood from the fish market around the corner helps keep your local fisherman and fish market in business.
This one-pot main dish comes together in about 30 minutes and features redfish, also known as ocean perch. Rolling the small, thin filets keeps them from over-cooking.
Redfish Rolls with Rice
1 small or medium yellow onion, chopped (about ¼ dice)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 Cup long grain or Basmati rice
8 skinned redfish filets*
½ Cup chopped parsley
Salt & Pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Zest the lemon with a micro plane or the fine side of a box grater into a small bowl. Reserve ¼ of the lemon for serving, and juice the remaining ¾. In a medium size cast iron skillet or oven-safe sauté pan, sauté onion with olive oil about 5 minutes, until onion is softened. Season with salt and pepper. Add half of garlic and rice, stirring to coat rice with oil (about 30 seconds) add 2 cups water and lemon juice and simmer 5-10 minutes while preparing fish.
Lightly toss parsley with lemon zest and remaining garlic. Line filets up with the wider end closest to you and season with salt and pepper. Divide parley mixture evenly over filets. Starting with the wide end, roll filets into bundles. Nestle bundles into the rice mixture, season with salt and pepper, and cover pan with foil. Place pan in preheated oven and cook 20-25 minutes, until rice is tender and all liquid has been absorbed. Serve with fresh lemon wedges.
*At the Brant Rock Fish Market redfish filets are sold skinned, but redfish is often sold with the skin on. If you find skin-on redfish filets, ask the fishmonger to remove the skin. Alternatively, sole filets would be a good (but pricier) substitution for the redfish filets in this preparation.