Rockfish, Lobster Thermidor Style
The official date is now set for the annual Rockfish fishing expedition among some of the old college field hockey dads rigging up for reeling in their maximum supply of Maryland Rockfish with Capt Greg Buckner of Miss Susie Charters in the Chesapeake Bay.
This now enables me to finish off the final freezer reserve before the next catch of these beautiful large fish arrives just off the boat, readied for filleting, shortly before Christmas.
The annual Rockfish fishing expedition launched a few years back by Mark (a former tough tailgate competitor) has evolved as an interesting opportunity for me to test out a variety of ways to prepare Rockfish and in this version we have Rockfish, Lobster Thermidor Style.
The Rockfish (also called Striped Bass) is baked and topped with a creamy bechamel sauce transitioned with the addition of brandy, half and half, strained liquid from the cooked lobster, then thickened in creaminess with the addition of cheese. In my second preparation of today’s dish while firming up the recipe, a little added color seemed necessary for the photo, hence the baby broccoli which actually ended up enhancing the flavor profile, along with the colorfully tinted orange garnish roasted shrimp. A decadent dish, no doubt, but another delicious example in the versatility of this firm fleshed white fish.
Other Rockfish recipes shared here on Spiced Peach Blog include Maryland Rockfish, Stuffed Asian Style. This dish I served on Christmas Day as an appetizer to a large crowd simply setting the Rockfish on a long tray aside some small plates and forks which went over so well the literal bone skeleton remained.
I’ve also shared Rockfish with Mussels, Shrimp & Star Fruit Salsa which serves a lovely warm weather meal.
Next up, besides hoping for a new photo of all the Dad’s together with their 2016 catch, I’ve been working on a new recipe preparing Rockfish Malaysian style that I’m looking forward to sharing with you sometime in the near future.
Fish Tales are good. Heck, a maximum catch of the biggest Rockfish pulled from the Chesapeake is even better, thus continuing to provide me a stock up for more diverse recipe testing and sharing. Let the reeling in begin.
- 1 1/2 pounds Maryland Rockfish filet
- 1 cup baby broccoli, cooked in salted boiling water for 4-5 minutes, drained
- 8 large shrimp, peeled, deveined
- 1-1 1/4 pound lobster
- 2 cups white wine
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 8 peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 small shallot, diced
- 1 small clove garlic, diced
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- 1/4 cup reserved strained broth from the cooked lobster
- 1 1/2 cups half and half
- good pinch ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
- 1/4- 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- couple good pinches coarse kosher salt, more to taste
- pinch of ground white pepper
- Step One: Roast Shrimp
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pat dry shrimp on paper toweling, set onto a baking sheet, roast in the oven for around five or six minutes, turning once in between until shrimp are firm and pink. Remove shrimp from oven, transfer to a plate, cover with foil. Keep oven on, follow directions in step 3, baking the Rockfish.
- In a pot large enough to hold a lobster with a secured lid, bring to a boil white wine, water, peppercorns, and bay leaves, drop in lobster, secure lid and cook for 10-12 minutes. Remove lobster, cool to the touch then remove meat from the tail and claws, cut into small bite sized pieces. Strain lobster liquid into a small bowl
- Step Three: Bake Rockfish
- Place Rockfish on a large sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil set on baking sheet (enough to encase fish for baking.) Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper and spoon some of the strained lobster liquor from the pot onto the top of the fish. Fold over the fish packet and roll shut at the top all around. Bake fish approximately 20 minutes or a little longer until no longer translucent and easily flaked. Remove fish from oven and keep warm.
- Step Four: Prepare Thermidor Style Sauce
- Melt butter in a saucepan, add in the shallots and garlic and cook on very low heat for three to four minutes, sprinkle over the flour cook for two minutes, pour in the brandy increase heat to medium low, stir, and cook another minute, pour in a quarter cup of the reserved, strained lobster liquor, cook another minute. A little at a time pour in the half and half whisking vigorously after each addition, continuing to cook for a couple minutes until mixture is well blended and beginning to thicken, sprinkle in the nutmeg, whisk, scrape in the cheese stirring until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth. Reduce heat to low, stir in the lobster pieces and the chopped baby broccoli, warm through a couple of minutes. Sprinkle in salt and pepper, stir, check seasoning.
- Step Five: Assembly
- Plate baked Rockfish in the center of the plate, ladle over the Thermidor sauce decoratively arranging baby broccoli and lobster pieces. Arrange two pieces of shrimp on top of each Rockfish filet. Serve hot straight away.