It’s a beautiful fish, with a delicate red skin, although the color mostly disappears with cooking.
New York venders (and restaurants?) sometimes call it ‘redfish’, but usually it’s ‘sea perch’ or ‘ocean perch’, even if it bears little resemblance to the fresh water perch I grew up with around the Great Lakes. The brilliant color of its scales and its skin would be enough evidence of the distinction, but I have to admit, even at this gap in time and distance from 1940s-50s Michigan and Wisconsin, there may be something to be said about the similarities in taste.
The French know it as Rascasse, but there’s some confusion with names on the other side of the Atlantic because it apparently belongs to the family, ‘scorpaenidae‘, which also includes the scorpionfish.
This looks like the best answer to the question, ‘what is it?’
- four fillets of red sea perch (19 ounces) from Pura Vida Seafood, brushed with olive oil and one chopped garlic clove from Tamarack Hollow Farm, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground pepper, then broiled, 4 inches from the flames, for about 4 minutes until the skin was crisp and the fish cooked through, sauced with a bit of olive oil in which 3 salted anchovies from Buon Italia, rinsed and filleted, had been heated over a very low flame for about 5 minutes until they had fallen apart (the sauce having been kept warm while waiting for the fish to cook), the fillets finished on the plates with chopped parsley from Eataly
I had collected two kinds of beautiful small carrots in recent visits to the Greenmarket, and last night I decided it was time to enjoy them both.
- ‘Purple Haze’ (the purple ones, a hybrid) and ‘Kyoto’ (the red-orange ones, an heirloom) carrots from Norwich Meadows Farm, washed, trimmed, scrubbed, and dried, tossed in a very little olive oil with salt and pepper, spread inside a large seasoned Pampered Chef pan and baked at 400º until tender (the time would depend on size; these took little more than 15 minutes), finished with a combination of chopped thyme from Eataly and oregano from Stokes Farm
- the wine was a California (Napa) white, La Tapatia Chardonnay Carneros 2015, from Naked Wines
- the music was the last parts of Handel’s 1730 comic opera seria [sic], ‘Partenope’, with Riccardo Minasi conducting Il Pomo d’Oro, which we had begun to listen to the night before