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Jerk Rockfish
submitted by: Deborah Alves


I used to live in the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean, which is where I learned about "jerking" chicken. The term means marinating in a hot, flavorful mixture called jerk. This is a delicious, low-fat recipe I have always used for chicken, but using it with rockfish came about quite by accident. I had just made Jerk Chicken a few days before and had some of the jerk left. I had pulled the last of the frozen rockfish out in the morning to thaw, and when it was thawed, it had a small fishy smell which I personally hate. Normally I would have thrown it out and started fresh, but I thought about that jerk I had in the fridge and figured, hey why not!

Remembering back to my grandma cooking fish, I first put it in a bowl and covered it in milk to pull some of the smell out. Then I rinsed it, jerked it, and barbequed it and it was FABULOUS! So here you are.

Note: this recipe can be pretty hot if you use habanero peppers. Be sure to wear gloves when cutting and seeding to protect your skin from burns. Leave some of the seeds in for an intensely hot dish or use jalapenos for a milder dish.

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 Teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1/2 Teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1/4 Teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 habenero chile pepper, halved and seeded (I leave a little of the seeds in) OR 4 jalapenos for a milder green sauce

Place all the above in a blender or food processor and pulse 12 times. Pour 1/2 of the mixture (for 2 large rockfish filets or boneless chicken breasts) in a ziplock baggie, add the rockfish (or chicken) to the baggie, close and marinate in refrigerator 1 hour, turning the baggie occasionally. Put the remainder of the jerk mixture aside for another day or use as a condiment with the dish.

To Cook:
Prepare your grill. I have a gas grill for quick cooking and this is quick cooking. I spray the grilling rack with pam first to reduce sticking. Remove the rockfish (or chicken) from the marinade, but don't throw it away. I pour the marinade over the rockfish (or chicken) while it's grilling. Grill the rockfish (or chicken) 3-4 minutes on each side COVERED, depending on the thickness of your rockfish (or chicken).

That's it! We like to serve it with some fresh corn bread (add a small can of creamed corn to a standard recipe and reduce the liquid a little, YUM) and a tropical fruit salad or cucumbers and sour cream.


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