Ocean perch

Other Names: Arasuka sake, menuke (Japanese); gallineta nórdica (Spanish); grand sébaste, perche rose, rascasse du nord (French); karfi (Icelandic); Norway haddock; peixe vermelho (Portuguese); redbream; redfish; rodfisk (Danish, Norwegian, Swedish); rosefisch, rotbarsch (German); scorfano di norvegia (Italian); sea perch. Percidae.

General Description: The Atlantic ocean perch is closely related to the Pacific rockfish. Once commonly known as redfish, the name was changed in America by fish marketers
in the 1930s. Three species are known as ocean perch: Sebastes marinus, the largest of the three, found in shallower water; S. mentella, most common in Canada; and S. fasciatus, a small, deepwater species. All are slow-growing, slow-moving, schooling fish that are easily caught. In Japan, whole ocean perch are deep fried and served with the colorful spines and fins extending over the plate. The bones and head make excellent stock.

Locale and Season: Fresh-caught fish are immediately iced on board and are occasionally available, but the majority of the catch is processed into frozen, skin-on fillets for sale, defrosted, in American supermarkets.

Characteristics: Ocean perch have beautiful pink-red skin and delicately flavored, white, moist flesh and typically weigh 1 1/2 to 2 pounds. Relatively inexpensive, they are available head-off and gutted, and as skinless or skin-on fillets. Though the skin is edible, because of the fish’s high oil content, shelf life is diminished if the skin is left on. Frozen, they keep 4 to 6 months; fresh about 10 days from processing. Yield is 40 percent.

How to Choose: Ocean perch are a small fish yielding small fillets. Choose firm fish with bright lustrous skin and a briny
smell. The gills of whole fish should be clear pink-red.

Storage: Store fresh ocean perch refrigerated no more than 2 days after purchase.


1. Thoroughly rinse the belly cavity and rub away any
black lining.

2. Trim fins and score the fish crosswise 2 to 3 times in
the thick flesh at the head end for even cooking. Cook fillets with the skin on, if present. Any bones can be easily removed.

NOTE: Ocean perch have small spines on top of the head and sharp fins on the upper body, so care must be
taken when cleaning and gutting whole fish.

Suggested Recipe: Chinese Steamed Ocean Perch (serves 4): Season a whole trimmed (1 1/2- to 2-pound) ocean perch with salt and pepper. Make 3 shallow cuts into both sides of the fish from the head end. Place in a bamboo steamer, sprinkle with 1/4 cup sliced scallions, 1 tablespoon minced ginger, and 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Cover and steam over 1 to 2 inches of water for 15 minutes, or until the flesh flakes. Mix together 1/4 cup each soy sauce and rice wine, 1/4 cup sliced scallions, 2 tablespoons each minced ginger and chopped cilantro, and 1 tablespoon minced garlic, and pour
over the fish just before serving.

Flavor Affinities: Avocado, basil, butter, chives, cilantro, dill, garlic, ginger, lemon, mushroom, onions, orange, rice wine, scallion, shallot, sesame, soy sauce, tarragon, tomato.

from Quirk Books: www.quirkbooks.com