Tilefish (family Malacanthidae) found in many different waters stretching from Nova Scotia to Florida. They are very plentiful in Florida, and sometimes known as blamquillo. It is multicolored with distinctive yellow spots. It can be referred to as “the clown of the sea” because of the spectrum of colors the skin produces. Its flesh is low fat, and very firm. It is similar to lobster and monkfish is taste and texture. It is snow white, and flakes very large. It has a diet of crab.
The tilefish does not live in schools, but gathers in clusters along reefs and rock structures. They are predominately a line caught fish.
Cooking tilefish is best done with high dry heat. The flesh will also hold up in a fish stew.
Tilefish can range in size from 2 to 50 pounds.
fruits, especially tropical
Roasted Whole Tilefish with Tomatoes and Lemons
¼ cup olive oil
2 medium size onions, sliced and separated into rings
4 sprigs fresh marjoram or oregano or 1 tsp dried
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 medium size ripe tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup minced fresh parsley
juice of 1 lemon
one 2-1/2 to 3 pound tilefish, scaled and gutted with head on or off
½ cup unseasoned bread crumbs, or as needed
1 lemon, thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Warm 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a skillet. Add the onion and cook over medium high heat, stirring frequently. When the onions begin to soften, add half the marjoram and season with salt and pepper. Remove the onions from the heat when they are tender, but not mushy, and let them cool.
Mix the tomatoes with the garlic, parsley, the remaining marjoram, and the lemon juice.
Rinse the fish and dry it. Add the cooked onions to the tomatoes mixture and enough bread crumbs to absorb most of the liquid from the tomatoes.
Cut four or five parallel slashes on each side of the tilefish just deep enough to go through the skin of the fish, but not the flesh. Put it in a baking pan large enough to hold it snugly, rub the fish with the remaining olive oil, and lay it in the pan. Stuff the fish with some of the tomato onion mixture, and spoon the rest of the mixture around and on top of the fish. Lay the lemon slices over all.
Roast the fish until the meat near the bone is no longer pink, start peeking in the slashes after about 20 minutes, although total cooking time is likely to 30 to 35 minutes. Serve immediately.
© 2013 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger All rights reserved
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