I am extremely excited Rockfish season is almost here again on California's central coast. Hitting the beach before sunrise, and launching just after dawn. Stringers full of goofy looking fish with their eyes popping out of their heads. They are fun to catch and great to eat. One of the smaller, quick to bite, and more common fish is the Gopher Rock Fish. Gopher fish are not exactly prized for their fight or table fair, most fishermen let them go in favor of larger rockfish like Vermilion. With the right preparation, Gopher fish makes a great meal.
Get your charcoal grill started, I like natural chunk charcoal because it adds a nice smoky flavor. You will need 6-8 Golpher fillets, but watch out when handling the fish. Most rockfish have poisoned spines, and it really hurts getting poked. I lined the bottom of an aluminum pan with lemon slices. Then I sprinkled salt, dried chives, and fresh ground pepper. Then I laid the fish over the lemon, then top the fish with chives, pepper, salt and pepper. Drizzle a little olive oil over the fillets to keep them moist. Wrap the pan in foil and punch a few holes.
I threw it on the grill and checked it occasionally. I also made a Grey Squash and Summer Squash using the same seasonings as well as Artichokes. I also had a Tri Tip because we had company and I wanted some beef.
When the fish looks about half done I threw a few halved lemons that were dipped in sugar to caramelize on the grill. Once the fish looks done it probably is, I let it rest with the foil on tight just to be sure. When I do a meal like this the fish is the last thing I cook. It needs the least amount of time on the heat, and benefits from the special attention.
The fish went so fast I didn't even get seconds, the caramelized lemon and chives give it a great flavor. This recipe would work with any fish, Salmon, Halibut, Trout, Lingcod, Sole, the list goes on and on. If you don't want to do it on the grill, an oven at 350 degrees would work just as well. Try it out, I bet you like it.