A challenging game fish, roosterfish isn't usually considered a tasty food fish. Its distinctive dorsal fins -- seven thin, long spines -- rise when the fish becomes excited, giving the fish its common name. An in-shore species found in the eastern Pacific Ocean from southern California to Peru, its meat is tough and has a strong flavor. Look to the cuisine of the folks who reside on the shores near the roosterfish’s habitat for the proper ways to cook this beautiful fish.
Fillet the fish with a sharp fillet knife. Place the fillet on a work surface, skin side down. With larger game fish like roosterfish, hold the tail as you slice away the skin from the meat, placing your hand on the skin as you work your way up the fillet.
Remove the bloodline; roosterfish have large bloodlines, which can give the fish a strong flavor. Once you remove the fillet from the skin, lay the fillet skin side up to expose the bloodline. Cut about 1/2-inch deep along both sides of the bloodline in a "V" shape to completely remove it.
Cut the roosterfish fillets into around cubes, sprinkle them with salt and black pepper and marinate them for 30 minutes in lime juice. Saute the fish in a skillet over high heat until lightly browned, then lower the heat to medium and cook for about five more minutes. Like other members of the jack family, roosterfish has firm flesh and flakes when done.
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- After the fish is done, add chopped tomatoes, onions, garlic and pepper to the pan. When the vegetables are soft, add the fish and combine well.
- You also can salt and dry rooosterfish in the sun for two days and then slice it thin. The strips can be fried or added to sandwiches.
Leslie Darling has been a writer since 2003, writing regularly for "Mississippi Magazine" and "South Mississippi Living," specializing in food and wine, animals and pets, and all things Southern. She is a graduate of the University of New Orleans.