Weeknight Cooking

Herby Coconut-Poached Alaska Rockfish

March 29, 2022
4 Ratings
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 5 minutes
  • Serves 2 to 4
Author Notes

A mild and tender fish, wild Alaska rockfish lends itself to bold flavors incredibly well. This recipe is inspired by the French technique fish à la nage, a method that requires poaching fish in stock or broth. Here, wild Alaska rockfish filets are poached in a mixture of coconut milk, jalapeño, ginger, cilantro, and lime for a fresh spiciness reminiscent of traditional Thai curries. This sustainable showstopper is made possible by the versatile wild rockfish that’ve been harvested in the area since the first humans settled in Alaska.

A whopping 37 species of rockfish—including Northern, canary, the perfectly pink Pacific ocean perch, and more—live in Alaska waters. To ensure a sustainable harvest, quotas are set for each species based on catch data from the previous year, then allocated among fishermen. Protecting the fish as well as their ecosystem is especially important because three species, including the Pacific ocean perch, represent over 90 percent of the harvest. —Rebecca Firkser

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is shared in partnership with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 2 1/2 cups roughly chopped fresh cilantro (leaves and stems), divided
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed and halved (and seeded if desired)
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin or coriander (or 1 teaspoon each)
  • 4 (4 to 5 ounces each) Alaska rockfish filets (thawed, if frozen)
  • Cooked rice, for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  1. Place 2 cups of the cilantro, garlic, ginger, and jalapeño in a blender with the coconut milk, 1 cup of water, and the fish sauce if using. Blend until very smooth, then season with salt and pepper to taste (you’ll need less salt if using fish sauce). Blend again to combine.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat until it starts to shimmer. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until translucent but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the cumin or coriander and cook for another 30 seconds, then pour in the cilantro puree. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low.
  3. Season the rockfish on both sides with salt and pepper, then add to the saute pan. Cover and cook until the fish is opaque and flakes easily when pulled with a fork, 6 to 10 minutes (the thicker the filets are, the longer they’ll take). The poaching liquid should stay brothy.
  4. Divide the fish and poaching liquid into bowls with rice. Top with remaining 1/2 cup chopped cilantro and serve with lime wedges for squeezing over.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • juliettekoh
  • Jessamin

2 Reviews

juliettekoh April 20, 2022
Lovely and light. Poaching is the way to go with rockfish and this recipe had great complementing flavors. Used a serrano instead of a jalepeno for an extra kick and a touch more of all seasoning (cumin, coriander, garlic). Served over jasmine rice with potatoes on the side. Looking forward to cooking again!
Jessamin April 13, 2022
Absolutely delicious. Felt very virtuous cooking and eating this after a streak of take-out. I was worried that I should've omitted the water to make a thicker sauce, but glad I didn't because it is exactly what it should be as written. I used barramundi, served with rice and plantain. A keeper!