Other Names: Ocean perch, Pacific red snapper, rock cod; yellowtail, goldeneye, blue rockfish; bocaccio, chilipepper, shortbelly
Range & Habitat: Northern Pacific coasts
Identification & Biology: There are over 50 varieties of this fish, which ranges in weight from 5 to 15 lbs. Its color varies according to the species (red or reddish-pink, brown, blue, etc.); some have dark mottling. Rockfish generally fall into two categories--deep-bodied (yellowtail, goldeneye, blue rockfish) and long-bodied (bocaccio, chilipepper, shortbelly).
Market Description: In general, the white meat of the rockfish is firm in texture and low in fat, with a mild, sweet flavor. Meat of the deep-bodied variety tends to have a slightly firmer texture and fuller flavor.
Sold as: Fillets (most common), whole
Buying tips: Look for glistening, unmarred white fillets that show no signs of gaping, browning, or drying.
Recommended Preparation: Rockfish is excellent baked, broiled, poached, or sautéed. Fillets of the long-bodied variety tend to be soft and fragile and should be handled carefully (these are not the best fish for grilling).
Substitutes: Ocean perch, cod, flatfish, red snapper, weakfish, whiting
Notes: "Rockfish" and "ocean perch" are used interchangeably in the market place--just be aware that rockfish is the name of the family of which ocean perch is a member.