raw rockfish fillets
raw rockfish fillets

Everything You Need to Know About Pacific Rockfish

April 17th, 2019

A Flavorful White Fish Perfect for Bold Preparations

Pacific Rockfish, sometimes known as Alaskan rockfish, rock cod, red snapper, or Pacific snapper, is the most common near-shore fish on North America's West Coast. There are more than 70 different types of rockfish, and they are part of the much larger fish genus of Sebastes, which also encompasses ocean perch and redfish, along with many other saltwater fish found in the Atlantic Ocean as well. 

They can range in location (some swim near the shore, closer to the surface and some swim at depths of 300+ feet), they can vary in size (with fish ranging from as small as one pound to as large as 40 pounds) and they come in a variety of colors (from bright red and orange to blander black or gray). But what all varieties of rockfish share is their mild flavor and lean texture.  

Rockfish are some of the longest-living vertebrates in the world. One of the oldest rockfish that researchers have been able to age was over 120 years old. This long lifespan can be attributed to evolutionary behaviors that help them survive. Rockfish give birth to live young, and that reproduction doesn’t usually start until a female rockfish is at least 15 years old (sometimes as old as 25 years). For several months rockfish have a larval stage, during which they are protected by their mothers because they are prime prey for organisms that eat zooplankton. As they get older, the biggest predators for juvenile rockfish are organisms that eat small fish, including adult rockfish! Adult rockfish are eaten by a variety of predators including lingcod, octopus, and sharks.

What Do Rockfish Fillets Taste Like? 

Pacific Rockfish is our most flavorful species of white fish. It's the perfect choice when you are making a white fish recipe that features bold flavors that complement the robust qualities of this species. Firm in texture, Pacific Rockfish is easy pan-fry, grill, or bake.

Rockfish Recipes and Ideas 

Whether you’re cooking to impress at a fancy dinner party or you’re just interested in mixing up your weeknight dinner game, then rockfish is for you. It’s easy to prepare, quick to cook, and hard to mess up because it can adapt to so many different types of cuisines and dish preparations from soups and stews to oven roasted or sautéed rockfish. Rockfish is another fish that's also perfect for grilling. If you need something fast that will please a crowd (foodies or finicky eaters alike) then rockfish needs to be added to your mealtime repertoire.

Blackened Rockfish 

If you’re looking for a simple yet intensely delicious fish dish, this Blackened Rockfish recipe should be on your list. The main players are ingredients you almost definitely have in your pantry — garlic salt, old bay seasoning, black pepper, cayenne pepper, olive oil and butter. Season both sides of your rockfish filet, cook it up in the melted butter and oil mixture and be careful not to overcook your fish. It should only take about 3-4 minutes per side, and in the end your fish will be golden brown on the outside and opaque white on the inside.

Panko Crusted Oven Fried Rockfish 

For a slightly crispier option that kids and adults will all love, this Panko Crusted Oven Fried Rockfish is a must-try. The dish is not heavy (it’s oven fried and not deep fried) and it’s not fishy tasting because rockfish is so mild. It’s fairly mess-free because it’s cooked in the oven and not on a stovetop, and the final dish is firm but tender, flakey but crispy, light but indulgent. The trick is to make sure your rockfish filets are only 1” at the thickest point, so that they cook quickly and you achieve that crispy, crunchy coating without overcooking the fish. And the best part — the cooking time is only 3-4 minutes per side! Quick, easy, and delicious.

Nutritional Benefits of Pacific Rockfish

While the mild, slightly sweet flavor texture of rockfish is certainly appealing, one of the biggest benefits of Alaskan rockfish is its versatility and incredibly dense nutritional profile. This fish is packed with vitamins, healthy fats, and lean protein. Let's take a look at a typical 100 g serving: 

Pacific Rockfish Nutrition

Serving Size:100g/3.5oz. (raw)

Amount Per Serving

Source: USDA

  • Calories:94

  • Fat Calories:14

  • Total Fat:1.6g

  • Saturated Fat:0.4g

  • Cholesterol:35mg

  • Sodium:60mg

  • Protein:18.8g

  • Omega-3:0.4g

An average serving of rockfish has nearly 33 grams of protein, and it’s also full of omega-3 fatty acids (those brain-boosting, healthy fats). Plus rockfish is an excellent source of vitamin D and potassium, making it a nutrient-rich dish that tastes good and that you can feel good about eating.

Wild Caught Rockfish Recipes and Ideas

At Wild Alaskan Company, we're passionate about sustainability and the role that seafood has played in shaping cuisines from ocean to ocean. Discover our wild caught rockfish, already pre-portioned in convenient 6 to 8 oz fillets. Thinking about how to cook rockfish? Explore our blog and recipes for meals that are so easy to put together, from the best fish taco recipes to broths, marinades, sautes, and more.