Recipe Idea: Easy Baked Rockfish

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Having the most frugal grocery budget in the world isn’t going to help you and if you can’t put together at least a few healthy, tasty, and cheap eats! Every few weeks, The Outlier Model features a cheap recipe idea, along with the cost breakdown.

Fish is a great protein option for people looking to cut down on their red meat intake.  One fish I’ve been cooking lately is the Pacific Rockfish.  Rockfish is found native to the Pacific Ocean and is (usually) a type of striped bass.  It’s a healthy and affordable fish, containing lots of protein, vitamin A, potassium, and smaller amounts of iron and calcium.  You can get it fresh but frozen fish are usually much, much cheaper.  I purchased a bag of several small frozen fish recently for only $5.

Photo Credit: skolbwilliams via Flickr

Photo Credit: skolbwilliams via Flickr

Easy Baked Rockfish

  • 1 large Rockfish or several smaller fish ($5)
  • 2 tbsp butter ($0.20)
  • 3 cloves of garlic ($0.15)
  • sea salt or kosher salt ($0.10)
  • freshly ground pepper ( < $0.05)

Depending on how you purchased your fish, it may be whole, partially cleaned or completely cleaned.  If it is completely cleaned, skip to the next step!  Otherwise, continue reading.

Cleaning a fish:

  1. Starting with a whole, thaw fish, you can start by gutting it.  Insert a sharp knife into the anus of the fish and pull forward towards the gills.  This exposes the abdominal cavity, where you can then remove the insides.
  2. Then cut off the head and rinse.
  3. Once your fish is gutted and the head removed, you can descale it.  Hold the fish by the head end in your sink underneath running water.  Run a knife held diagonally along the sides of the fish repeatedly to remove the scales.  You can run your fingers along the fish periodically to check for scales.  A clean fish should feel absolutely smooth with no rough spots.  Give it another good rinse when you are done.

Pat the fish dry and place it in a glass baking dish or casserole dish.  If you’re using multiple fish, just lay them side by side. Chop the garlic and sprinkle it over the fish.  Then, take the butter and place it in rough chunks over the fish.  Finally, sprinkle with a generous amount of salt and pepper.  Cover the dish with tin foil (or the lid, if oven safe) and bake at 350 degrees for half an hour.

Goes great with lightly cooked kale or asparagus and rice!

Servings: 4

Cost per serving: $1.40 plus the cost of sides.  With starch and veggies, you would have a total cost of $2 to $2.50.

Feeling adventurous? This recipe is easy to turn into a layered casserole.  Instead of using whole fish, cut (or buy) skinless fillets of fish.  You’ll need about another 2 tablespoons of butter.  Then, in your baking dish, layer scalloped potatoes, butter, fish, garlic, more butter, mushrooms, and yes, more butter.  Finish off the recipe as above and bake.  It’s a meal in a dish!  **It’s important to use fillets rather than whole fish if you choose this method because otherwise, it will turn out very, very fishy smelling!!!**

Frugal hack: This is a very simple recipe that would go well with most types of meaty white fish.  Think halibut, trout and other types of bass.  Buy whatever is on sale, whatever is cheap in the frozen section, and experiment!

As an aside, if you’re looking for additional dinner ideas, my friend Mabintu has a really solid recipe for gluten free scalloped potatoes.

And if you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like these:

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12 Comments

  1. Good idea! Although I would have to get my fish already cleaned. I’m too squeamish to cut off the head of anything.

    • CF says:

      Haha. It’s pretty painless for fish. I lopped off the head of a trout yesterday before frying it up. You don’t even need a cleaver – a regular chef knife is sufficient (but your blade edge might resent you…)

  2. Vicky says:

    Fish isn’t a staple in our diet as the boy doesn’t like cooked fish, but the few times I have made it, I usually just get fillets and grill them. The recipe definitely looks simple and pretty tasty though; will have to try it sometime.

  3. Jose says:

    That sounds like a nice easy and tasty recipe. If you want to give it a twist (so to speak) try substituting lemon pepper for the pepper. We use lemon pepper in a lot of different dishes and it does make quite a difference.

  4. Good stuff mate, we love fish in our house, I’m British after all. We buy the bags as well especially when they are on offer. We load up because we don’t tend to each much meat.

    • CF says:

      Nice. It’s good that you don’t eat much meat. We are trying to cut down as well and eat at least one fish dish a week and at least one veggie dish a week. Usually works out to two dinners and two lunches of each.

  5. Very cheap and healthy meal! I just can’t say I want any part of cleaning a fish. I’d much rather have it cut up for me…

    • CF says:

      Thankfully, it’s usually not too much more expensive to get fish that are already gutted and cleaned! You may still need to cut off the head though…

  6. bf loves fish, but I don’t eat fish. I don’t mind making it, I’ve just never really known how (my mom didn’t eat fish so she didn’t cook it either). This sounds like a recipe I could actually handle. I’d have bf do all the prep and then I’d do the cooking.

    • CF says:

      Boys are good at doing messy things 🙂 For me, cooking fish starts with either baking it in butter or frying it in butter. Both are pretty easy to start and you can always make it more complicated later on by adding sauces and spices as you felt more comfortable.

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