When it comes time to decide on a winter meal to serve family and friends over the holidays, consider skipping the traditional turkey for local, sustainable Oregon seafood instead.
Paul Grossi, the head chef at Redfish restaurant in Port Orford, says lingcod is a great choice. The fish is available year-round and can be seasoned with warm spices for an otherwise cold winter day. “It’s warming to the palate and gives a very aromatic embrace, so to speak. You can feel the toasted spices when it blooms in the air,” he says. “It’s like grandmother’s spice cake with its wintry, fall smells.”
Grossi says the dish is a crowd pleaser — his children gobble it up just as quickly as his adult dinner guests. The dish is also great for its built-in substitution opportunities to cater to preferences and food restrictions. “It’s a very versatile recipe. The lingcod can be swapped out for any other rockfish. The vegetables mentioned can be swapped out for any other root vegetables. [For the couscous and vegetables], chicken stock can be swapped out for vegetable stock for vegetarians. They are a hit with vegan friends.”
Lingcod and other rockfish are available through most fish counters, Grossi says, but he recommends securing your fish through Port Orford Sustainable Seafood, which makes deliveries throughout the state. Check the website on where to find a pick-up location near you. Another easy way to source Oregon’s freshest coastal ingredients to prepare at home is DockBox, a meal kit by Newport restaurant and fish market Local Ocean. For more fresh, seasonal coastal produce, check out Food Roots, a Tillamook nonprofit that has a storefront and CSA boxes.
Pan-Seared Lingcod With Couscous and Oven-Roasted Root Vegetables
by Redfish chef Paul Grossi
1-2 medium parsnips
1-2 medium carrots
1-2 medium rutabagas
1 lb brussels sprouts
1-2 medium onions
6 oz olive oil, divided
1-2 tbsp garam masala*
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups Morrocan couscous (store-bought mixes can be substituted)
1.5 lb-2 lbs fresh lingcod filet (or your favorite rockfish)
*Can use curry as a substitute
- Preheat oven to 350F. Start your vegetable prep. Using a peeler, peel the parsnips, carrots and rutabagas, and set aside. Next, using a paring knife or small chef knife, trim off the brown stem end of the brussels sprouts, removing the discolored end and any outer layers that might be discolored. Don’t be worried if a few leaves fall off the sprouts that are usable — you can add to the vegetables prior to roasting. Next, peel your onions.
- Cut veggies into a medium dice (½ x ½-inch-sized pieces) and place in a large bowl. Using half of the olive oil, toss the veggies in the garam masala and season to taste with salt and pepper, making sure it’s evenly coated.
- Using a baking sheet, evenly spread the veggies on the pan, making sure not to overcrowd. An overloaded pan will steam, not roast. If needed, divide into two pans. Place in the preheated oven on the middle rack and roast for 20 to 30 minutes, or until they are golden brown and cooked through.
- Start the couscous. In a large pot, combine stock, salt and pepper, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bring to a boil. Add couscous, stirring to combine. Cover with lid and remove from heat. Let stand 7 minutes. After the couscous is done, remove the lid and fluff with a fork, then set aside.
- Preheat a pan large enough to sear your fish. (Cut the fish into two pieces if needed.) While the pan is heating, drizzle your fish with olive oil (light coat only) and season with salt and pepper.
- When your pan is hot, drizzle a little oil in it — canola, vegetable or rice bran oil is best since it has a higher smoke point and has less chance of giving your fish an off flavor. Place your fish skin-side up and gently move it to ensure it isn’t sticking. Once you see a crust forming, place the pan and fish in the oven at 350F for approximately 10 minutes.
- When it’s ready, the fish should be firm, with juices just starting to coagulate and a nice evenly browned crust. Remove from the oven and gently flip fish to ensure that the crust remains crisp.
- In a large bowl, combine roasted veggies and couscous, mixing to combine. Transfer to a serving platter and gently place fish in the center. Garnish with fresh lemon and chopped parsley, or top with chimichurri if desired.
– Emily Gillespie