Rocking the Rockfish: Baja-Style “Pescado Frito”
This is my wife Stela’s favorite seafood dish, whole deep-fried Pacific rockfish, also known as “pescado frito.” It’s said to have originated on the south coast of Spain, but it’s also a Baja fave. This simple fish dish is best served Baja-style, with warm tortillas, fresh salsa and ripe avocado. Be as creative as you like with the sides.Remember, “Always ‘Stay Legal,’ and never take more than you’ll eat.”
- 1 5- lb. Pacific rockfish
- 4 cups peanut oil
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbs. Old Bay seasoning
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Clean the fish, removing the scales and internal organs. Using kitchen shears, lift the gill plate and carefully cut out the entire cluster of gills on each side of the fish. Rinse and pat dry inside and out with paper towels. With a sharp knife, on each side of the fish’s body make 4-5 deep slices into the flesh, from top to bottom, spaced a few inches apart. The number of cuts may vary a bit. Mix the flour and Old Bay seasoning in a large pan and set aside.
- Add at least 2 inches of oil to a large heavy frying pan and heat oil to 375 degrees F. (If using a deep fryer preheat to 375 degrees and follow manufacturer’s recommendations.)
- Season the fish with salt and pepper and place into the flour mixture. Coat well, making sure to get seasoned flour into all the nooks and cavities, inside and out.
- Gently place the floured fish into the hot oil and cook approximately 8-10 minutes on each side (or about 12 minutes in a deep fryer) until golden brown. Remove to paper towel-lined plate and let rest for about 5 minutes before serving.