This week’s NH Community Seafood Underdog selection is Acadian Redfish, landed at Portland Maine and also know, among many other names, as Redfish, Crimson snapper, Southern Red snapper, Red drum and Ocean perch.
They arrived well cleaned, scaled, filleted, with firm flesh and glistening skin absent the slightest whiff of fish. Although extremely tempted to prepare a bouillabaisse but having done these tasty little fish that way in the past I opted to bake half and broil the other half. That would provide an opportunity to sample alternative methods of cooking while reserving the bouillabaisse for the next time we receive these tasty treats from the Gulf of Maine.
Broiling was straightforward, I made a butter sauce for basting by melting a 1/4 pound of compound garlic butter (left over from another adventure) along with a dash or two of cayenne, a good splash of lemon juice, tablespoon of fresh parsley and a bay leaf. I brushed 1 1/2 pounds of redfish with the butter mixture and broiled for 6 to 9 minutes then brushed on the remaining butter mixture and returned to the broiler for another 4 to 7 minutes.
Baking was even easier. I dried the remaining 1 1/2 pounds of redfish with paper towels, then massaged them with a spice mix of smoked paprika, sea salt, fresh grated ginger and freshly ground black pepper. Baked for 8 to 10 minutes in a preheated 450° F oven.
The broiled redfish was a fan favorite, the baked was dry but good. I was not surprised at the outcome with the table dominated by butter/garlic aficionados. One of the tasks on my to do list when we moved to the Northeast coast was to get more comfortable cooking fish. I started with simple fish like swordfish which typically gets handle like you would a steak and moved on to cod/haddock which easily braises or steams. I have been smoking fish for years and even cold smoked scallops and shrimp before. But the advent of NH Community Seafood’s Underdog offering forced me to get out of my growing comfort zone and embraced the broiler and the fry pan. I still have much to learn but I admit to looking at fish much differently now. You can’t improve if you just keeping doing what you do.