Grilled Rock Fish with Crab and Corn Sauce

Tuna (or Seabass) with “Creamed” Corn and Tarragon

Rock Fish with Corn and Crab Sauce

The ocean, and the things that come from it, are typically flown to me. I have cooked all sorts of fish from all over the world. But to be able to harvest, cook and eat my own seafood (in the same day!) is an unfortunately new feeling.

I am a sagebrush dweller. I love the open canyons and the high aspen stands of Southwest Idaho. It is my ancestral home; we ran supplies to silver mines in the area and never moved very far from it. Heck, my shotgun actually road shotgun on whiskey wagon transport deliveries in Southeast Oregon.

It was explained to me that once I went tuna fishing I would never be the same. They were right; I will never look at the ocean the same way again. I have always known that it could crush a boat but I have never experienced what that feeling was like. I was humbled beyond belief. Next time I go tuna fishing I hope to actually catch one.

When we got back to our shack near Waldport, under the giant “don’t even think about boiling crab in this house” sign we enjoyed the fish as simple as I can imagine, grilled with a fresh local sweet corn sauce. I was in heaven.

Grilled Albacore Tuna – or Seabass…if you are desperate

Four 6oz rockfish fillets – the ones from your favorite catch that day

Olive Oil

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon cracked pepper

Salt

1 tablespoon fennel seeds, rough cracked in spice grinder or mortar

Heat the briquettes or the gas grill, I’m not all that picky. When HOT take the rockfish out of the fridge and put it on a plate. Season the top with cracked pepper, garlic, salt and fennel seeds. Flip over and repeat. When your beer is open and you are near the grill pour JUST a little oil onto the fish and rub it in. If you add the oil as the first step the seasoning will fall off.

Grill for about 2 minutes per side. Pull of the BBQ and let sit for 5 minutes while reminiscing about how much of a fight she put up with while out on the water. Serve with sauce below. Eat, drink, be merry.

Sweet Corn and Dungeness Crab Sauce –

2 ears of corn husked and raw

1 cup chicken stock

1 clove garlic, crushed and chopped

¼ cup whipping cream

Picked meat from one large crab

Salt and Pepper

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

Chive, as garnish

With a knife cut the corn kernels from the cob of the corn. The sharper your knife the better.  Next turn the blade of the knife over and carefully scrape the cut side of the cob down onto the cutting board with the backside of the knife. You will see a white viscous liquid come out of the cob, I call this corn juice, and it has a ton of flavor. Save this juice in a bowl with the corn kernels for the sauce.  Next cut the corn cobs, removed of the corn kernels, in half length- wise.

In a small sauce pot add the chicken stock and the corn cobs, bring the pot to a simmer. The corn cobs will make a great tasting broth. Let simmer for 20 minutes of so. Remove the cobs and throw them away. Next add the garlic, corn kernels and juice to the simmering chicken stock.

The freshness of the corn, time of year and other factors will affect this next step. The corn will start to thicken the chicken stock. You will just have to look and see, I can’t honestly tell you how long it will take. It could be five minutes of simmering or it could be 30 seconds. But either way the corn “starch” in the fresh kernels and the corn juice will tighten up the chicken stock to an almost sauce like consistency. When the sauce it slightly thickened add the cream and season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings. Simmer for a few moments and remove from the heat. Your sauce is now ready.

Right before serving toss in the picked crab meat and fresh chopped tarragon.  Other herbs will work as well. Basil, parsley and even rosemary are all good substitute options if you do not like the licorice flavor profile of tarragon.  Season with salt and pepper. Use this sauce as the topper for fresh grilled Oregon Coast fish fillets.

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