Maryland Rockfish Celebration Runs Thru February

posted in: Chesapeake Bay News | 0

A celebration of Maryland’s official state fish – the striped bass, commonly known as rockfish is taking place at over 50 restaurants and retail markets throughout the state.  Restaurants, grocery stores, and seafood markets will be offering specials on this delectable fish during the celebration, which last through the end of February.

“Winter is prime time for the delicious Chesapeake Bay rockfish,” said Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance.  “Our commercial fishermen catch the Bay bounty for us to enjoy at home and in restaurants.  It is a tasty and healthy nutritional choice.”

Maryland rockfish fits perfectly into any diet plan.  A three ounce cooked portion contains only 105 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, zero carbohydrates and many good vitamins, minerals and 0.8 grams of omega-3 fatty acids.  Omega-3 fatty acids are important for good health.  They help in lowering cholesterol and have many other important benefits for eyes, skin and even mental health.

Rockfish may be prepared in a variety of ways.  A favorite is to simply brush the fish with a small amount of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper then bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes per inch of thickness of fish.  They are also delicious stuffed with crab imperial or an oyster dressing for special occasions or cut up into strips and fried for a tasty treat.

For the best taste and quality look for the following when purchasing fresh rockfish:

* Fresh fish should have a mild sea breeze aroma.

* Whole fish should have bright, clear and shiny eyes.  Scales should be shiny and cling tightly to the skin.  Look for bright pink or red gills.

* Steaks and fillets should be moist with firm and shiny flesh.  The flesh should spring back when pressed.

Look for the special purple, green and silver Maryland Rockfish Celebration buttons and table tents at your favorite restaurant or retail market.  The Maryland Rockfish Celebration is sponsored by Maryland commercial fishermen, seafood processors and the Maryland Department of Agriculture.

Try this great recipe for Southwest Rockfish with Rice and Beans.


2 pounds Maryland rockfish fillets, skinned or skin on
2-3 teaspoons minced garlic
2       teaspoons orange juice
4       teaspoons minced fresh cilantro or parsley
½       teaspoon salt
1       tablespoon vegetable oil

¾       cup long grain rice
1       tablespoon minced garlic
1       tablespoon vegetable oil
2       cups tomato salsa
1½      cups cooked or frozen corn
1       15-ounce can pinto or black beans, drained and rinsed
½       cup orange juice
½       teaspoon ground cumin
½       teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2       tablespoons minced fresh cilantro or parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place rockfish skinned (or skin) side down in a single layer in a shallow dish. In a small bowl, mix the garlic, orange juice, cilantro, salt and oil. Spoon mixture over rockfish and spread to evenly coat. Cook rice according to package directions and keep warm.

In a heavy, large skillet, heat remaining tablespoon of oil on medium heat for 3 minutes until hot. Add garlic and sauté until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the salsa, corn, beans, orange juice, cumin, and pepper. Cook, uncovered, until hot, 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.

Spoon hot rice into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and top with bean mixture; stir gently to blend. Place rockfish fillets, coated side up, on top of the bean mixture. Bake, uncovered, until the flesh of the rockfish turns white and just begins to flake when tested with a fork, 18 to 20 minutes.  Makes 6 servings.

For a free striped bass recipe brochure and list of participating restaurants and retailers, call the Maryland Department of Agriculture at (410) 841-5972 or toll-free in Maryland 888-841-5828 or visit

source: Maryland Department of Agriculture press release

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