I went to my local grocery last week. It’s a Ralph’s, close by the Slim Shack. Whenever anybody that works there sees me coming, they start running. I’m a pain in the ass shopper. Slim Poppa, PITA Shopper!
When I was doing the cookbook, I did most of the photos myself. So when I shopped for lemons, for instance, I wanted to find one that looked great on camera. I needed a star! So I’d look through all the lemons, and pick a beauty.
If the basil wasn’t fresh, I’d ask them to go in the back and look for more. Do you have any garlic that looks fresher than this? I probably drive those people crazy. The seafood people hide in the back when they see me approaching.
I went to the seafood department, saw they had fresh, wild rockfish that looked great. The seafood guy finally came out of hiding, and told me they got it in that morning, and I got 4 pieces, about ¼ pound each. It was…8 bucks a pound. Not expensive at all.
I love rockfish.
My dad used to love going fishing. Later in life, he bought a 17-foot Boston Whaler, and he’d take us out in the Long Island Sound. I loved my dad, but he wasn’t the greatest captain out on the open seas.
When he first got the boat, he backed the trailer down to the shoreline. We got the boat off the trailer and into the water, I held the rope at the front of the boat while he parked the car and trailer.
When he got back, he got in the boat, and started the engine. He hit the gas. The only problem was, he was in forward gear. He was headed for the shore, I was in front, hanging on for dear life, getting dragged through the water.
Another time we were out in the boat, fishing in the evening—me, my brother and Paps—and Paps saw the water rustle; fish were breaking the surface. He raced the boat over there. We casted, and landed a couple rockfish.
Then the water broke a little further away. Paps gunned the engine, and we went over and started casting and caught a few more rockfish. We did this a couple more times, until it got dark. We were still catching fish, but our lines were getting crossed, it was hard to net the fish.
That’s when the lights on the boat went out. We were lost. We tried to remember how to get back, but nobody knew. This was BC…before cellphones. We puttered around for a while, and ended up following the lights along the shoreline, flashlight in hand.
I should have brought a compass and a map of the stars.
It took us a while. It was kinda scary. But when we finally got back to the pier, we had some rockin’ rockfish.
I went back to the Slim Shack and thought…I’ll just do it simple, with garlic and white wine and lemon and parsley. But I wanted to give it a little pizzazz, Slim People. A little kick in the pants. A little pep in the pepperoni.
So I added some Old Bay seasoning to the flour. Old Bay is a Baltimore-born seasoning, you can find it in most grocery stores. It’s a kickin’ combo of salt and pepper and paprika.
It gave this dish a pleasant speecy-spiciness. She’s a-so nice!
I added a little flour at the end of the sauce, before the parsley. It gave it a little…thickness, a consistency that I liked. You can leave it out if you want. I’ve done it both ways. And love ‘em both!
4 rockfish filets, skinless, boneless, about ¼ pound each
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup flour
1 generous and kind tablespoon of Old Bay seasoning
4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
¼ cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (I juiced one lemon, don’t let any seeds get through!)
2 tablespoon fresh chopped Italian parsley (you can use curly parsley in a pinch)
Plus a couple sprigs for garnish
HERE WE GO…
Rinse off the filets, pat dry with paper towels.
Put the flour on a plate, or even better, a glass pie plate.
Put the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
Let it heat up for a minute.
Take a filet, put it in the flour, dust both sides, shake off the excess.
Put it in the sauté pan.
Do the same with the other filet. Don’t throw out the flour yet!
Sauté for two minutes, until pale gold underneath.
Flip over gently, sauté on the other side for a minute or two until golden.
Remove both filets to a serving plate.
Turn the heat down to medium.
Add the garlic, let each side get pale gold, about a minute or so.
Add the wine, swirl for a minute.
Add the lemon juice and swirl, swirl, swirl.
Take a couple pinches of flour, maybe ½ teaspoon, add it to the sauce, and stir it in. No lumps!
Add the parsley, give it a quick…swirl.
Put the sauce over the rockfish.
Garnish with a sprig of parsley, and…