Pan-Seared Chesapeake Rockfish with Minted Pumpkin and Pecan Sauce
Chef Barton Seaver of Blue Ridge – Washington, D.C.
Adapted by
November 2009
Yield: 4 Servings


2 tablespoons cooking oil
4 5-ounce pieces rockfish, skin on

1 pound peeled, seeded, diced pumpkin
Sea salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 large shallot, finely diced
Juice of 2 lemons
1 pinch chili flakes
1 cup small mint leaves

Pecan Sauce:
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic
¾ cup pecans
1 tablespoon maple syrup
3 tablespoons water

For the Rockfish:
Preheat oven to 275°F. Heat cooking oil in a heavy bottom skillet large enough to fit two pieces of rockfish. Sear rockfish when oil is very hot, 2 pieces at a time, skin side down until golden brown. Remove from pan and repeat with next two pieces. Put all 4 seared pieces in a sauté pan and put in oven for 15 minutes, skin side up, to finish.

For the Pumpkin:
Put pumpkin in pan and cover with cold water. Season generously with salt and a pinch of sugar. Slowly bring to a boil and strain immediately. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over high heat until golden brown. Add pumpkin in an even layer and scatter shallots over the top. Sauté until caramelized and golden brown. Add chili flakes and sauté to brown all sides. Add juice of 1 lemon, remaining butter and mint. Season with salt and remove from heat, tossing to incorporate butter into sauce.

For the Pecan Sauce:
Sauté onions and garlic in extra virgin olive oil in a saucepot until soft and translucent. Add pecans and cook over medium heat until the nuts are toasted, about 5 minutes. Add juice of second lemon and remove from heat. Put mixture in a blender and add maple syrup, water, and salt. Puree until smooth and pass through a fine mesh sieve.

To Assemble and Serve:
Place a dollop of pecan sauce on each plate and spread with back of a spoon. Divide pumpkin and mint between plates. Place fish fillet skin side up on top of pumpkin and season lightly with salt.