Roasted Rockfish with Artichokes, Citrus, and Lemon-Caper Browned Butter

Rockfish–additionally called Pacific snapper or rock cod–is one of the maximum sustainable and widely available fish inside the West and has a mild candy taste. Vermilion rockfish, with their scarlet hue, is especially pretty and tasty. For a large dinner party-worthy fish, order ahead of time out of your seafood store or counter.

Roasted Rockfish with Artichokes, Citrus, and Lemon-Caper Browned Butter
Roasted Rockfish with Artichokes, Citrus, and Lemon-Caper Browned Butter


 2 large rockfish, preferably vermilion (4 1/2 to 5 lbs. each), fins trimmed if you like About 5 1/2 tbsp. kosher salt, divided 12 small to medium artichokes (5 to 6 oz. each), or 1 lb. thawed frozen artichoke hearts 5 medium lemons, plus 1 tbsp. lemon juice About 5 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil About 3 tbsp. minced fresh oregano, divided, plus several branches for the inside of fish and for garnish 1 large red grapefruit 1 teaspoon pepper, divided 3/4 cup butter 3/4 cup whipping cream 1 1/2 tablespoons rinsed brined papers nutrition Facts

How to Make It

The day before cooking, rinse fish inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Make three or four parallel slashes about 1 in. apart in the thickest section of each fish, halfway to the bone, so it cooks evenly. Rub with salt (about 1 1/2 tbsp. per fish). Chill, uncovered, until ready to cook.

Meanwhile, prep artichokes (if using frozen artichoke hearts, skip to step 4). Fill a large bowl with water, squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon, and add juiced peels. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, trim off and discard the stem. Break off and discard outer leaves down to tender, pale green inner ones. Slice off the pointy, darker green end and discard, then pare off dark green leaf bases. Cut artichoke in half lengthwise and scoop out fuzzy ­center and any thorny petals. Drop artichoke into the lemon water.

Put a steamer basket in a large pot and fill with enough water to just touch the bottom of the basket. Cover and bring to a boil, then add artichokes to the basket. Steam until tender enough to be easily pierced with a knife, 5 to 8 minutes. Rinse in a colander with cold water to stop cooking.

Preheat oven to 450°. Remove fish from refrigerator and pat dry inside and out. Lightly oil two large rimmed baking sheets and set a fish on each one. Rub fish all over with oil (about 1 tbsp. per fish). Mix 2 tbsp. minced oregano with 2 tbsp. salt; rub mix over fish and into slashes.

Slice 1 lemon crosswise and lay a half inside each fish, along with several branches of oregano. Slice remaining 3 lemons into quarters lengthwise, then slice each quarter in half lengthwise. Cut grapefruit the same way.

Put lemons and grapefruit in a bowl with artichokes, 1 1/2 tsp. minced oregano, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, and 3 tbsp. remaining oil. Toss gently to coat.

Add artichokes and citrus to baking sheets on either side of the fish, dividing evenly and spreading into a single layer. Roast fish until opaque down to the bone (insert a knife in a slash to check), 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, make lemon-caper browned butter: In a small pan, melt butter over medium-high heat and cook until beginning to brown. Pour in cream and boil, whisking often, until separated and well browned 10 to 15 minutes. Add capers and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Cook until capers start to crisp and open up into petals, about 1 minute. Whisk in 1 tbsp. lemon juice and 1 tsp. minced oregano. Pour into 2 small sauce bowls.

To serve, lift each fish and its artichokes and citrus to a platter. With a sharp knife, cut skin behind the collar of fish, moving from the top of fish to belly; then slice lengthwise just under the top of fish. Peel back skin with two large serving spoons and transfer it to a plate. Set platters at either end of the table and let everyone dig in themselves. Or, you can serve them: Spoon fish onto plates from the top fillet, then lift out the spine (set on a plate with skin) and spoon out bottom fillet. Drizzle with lemon-caper browned butter and add some artichokes and citrus.

Make ahead: Steamed artichokes, up to 1 day. Lemon caper browned butter, up to 1 day (reheat on stovetop or in the microwave).

Drink Pairing: A bright but round and aromatic white wine like Buty 2014 Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc/Muscadelle (Columbia Valley; $25). Puckery citrus and resiny herbs are mellowed by honeyed pear and a rich mouth-feel.

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