Rockfish: The Alaskan Whitefish Species You Didn’t Know You Needed


Everything You Need to Know About this Delicious, Mild and Versatile Species

The key to a successful diet and a healthy lifestyle that you can actually maintain is simple: you need variety. You need to mix up what you prepare and what you eat so that your taste buds don’t get bored and you’re never left feeling unsatisfied by your meals. And if you’re looking for new options where fresh, wild-caught seafood is concerned, then we have three words for you: wild Alaskan Rockfish.

It’s no secret that buying and preparing wild seafood can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to species with which you may not be familiar. But the good news is that with seafood memberships like ours, it’s easier than ever to mix up your seafood routine and get a variety of sustainable seafood delivered right to your door. So, we’re here to tell you everything you need to know about this mild, versatile, white fish, so that you’re ready to rock once your rockfish arrives on your doorstep.

Alaskan Rockfish 101

Alaskan Rockfish, sometimes known as rock cod 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. 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 known to be among the longest-living vertebrates on earth; in fact, one rockfish in southern Alaska was estimated to be over 200 years old. Their long lifespans can be attributed to evolutionary behaviors that help rockfish 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.

Rockfish is a versatile white fish that is known to have a mild flavor and lean texture. It’s a perfect choice when you are making a fish recipe that does not call for any specific type of fish, and because of it’s firm texture and easily-adaptable flavor profile, Alaskan rockfish is a favorite in Asian and American cuisine. From grilled to baked to steamed and even raw, rockfish is easy to make, and even easier to devour.

Quick and Easy to Prepare

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. 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.

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.

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.

The Nutritional Benefits of Alaskan Rockfish

While the mild, slightly sweet and extremely versatile flavor and texture of rockfish is certainly appealing, one of the biggest benefits of Alaskan rockfish is the incredibly dense nutritional profile. This fish is packed with vitamins, healthy fats, and lean protein. 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.

Ready For Some Wild Alaskan Seafood?

By reserving your monthly seafood share, you’re helping build a more sustainable food system that’s better for humans and fish alike.