Atlantic Redfish

(Sebastes marinus): WILD CAUGHT

THE ATLANTIC REDFISH (Rosefish, Ocean Perch), a species better known overseas as Rascasse, is one of our local specialties purchased right in our own “backyard” at the Portland (Maine) Fish Exchange. Easily identified by its brilliant flame-red scales, it is now considered one of the most abundant fishes in the Gulf of Maine, and certainly one of the most affordable. The redfish is found in deep waters on both sides of the Atlantic, but rarely ventures south of Long Island, NY. Overlooked for years as a viable culinary option, robust landings have made the redfish gain more notoriety in the kitchen.

A small species, it rarely exceeds 18 inches in length or 2 pounds in weight. However, records show that individual fish as long as 24 inches, weighing over five pounds, have been harvested in our waters. Typically our local fish are landed in the 1 ½ – 3 pound range. Redfish, which range throughout the North Atlantic, are generally larger in size on the other side of the Atlantic. While feeding predominantly on crustaceans, small mollusks and various invertebrates, rosefish spend a great deal of time evading predators like cod and halibut.

Here in Maine it is simply called “redfish” or even “Acadian redfish” – not to be confused with the Gulf of Mexico Redfish which are in fact Drums – but it is also widely sold as “Ocean Perch”, of the family Scorpaenidae. Hence, the term Rascasse is also used to identify the scorpionfish, but the redfish bears this distinction well, for it is quite suitable substitution for its most common dish, the bouillabaisse. Paired with fresh tomatoes, potatoes, herbs and other assorted seafood items, the flavor of the rosefish is at its best in this classic dish. A lean fish, it is flaky and moist, and its pinkish flesh will cook up white. Prepare as you would snapper when put to heat – baked, fried, whole steamed, poached or sautéed or in chowders, soups or seafood stew.

Catch Region:  Gulf of Maine

Seasonality:     Year Round

Catch Method: Trawl

Yield (Fillet Percentage):  30 %        

Flavor Profile:  Mild and Slightly Sweet

Texture Profile:   Medium Firm and Moist

Substitute:

  •  Scorpionfish
  • Red Snapper

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