I am the fancifully named sea robin. Though I may not be as graceful as my feathered friends of the air, I am quite proud of my fanlike wings—er, fins—whose full wingspan is as wide as my body is long. I can also walk. My pointy forelegs are modified pectoral fin rays that I use to creep stealthily along the seafloor. And I can swim fast, make leaps to save myself if attacked, or ascend to the surface for a leisurely promenade.
I share many traits with my cousins the sea ravens and the sculpins. The main difference is that they are ugly and I am quite good-looking—or so my mother tells me.
All three of us sample from the smorgasbord of small animals that are found in or near the ocean bottom: worms, crustaceans, and small fishes. When our meal is interrupted by rivals, we produce a variety of clucks, grunts, growls, barks, and bursts by vibrating our swim bladders.
From “Simmering the Sea, Diversifying Cookery to Sustain our Fisheries”
4 sea robins, gutted
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
1/2 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Lime or lemon wedge for garnish
Set oven to 350°F. Hold the tail of the fish with a kitchen cloth and, using a sharp knife, cut the dorsal fin away, moving toward the head. Insert kitchen shears behind the head and cut through the spine without cutting off the head. Using 2 kitchen cloths, bend the head toward the belly and pull toward the tail. As you pull you will remove skin from flesh. Discard the head and skin. Cut off belly fins using kitchen shears. Rinse each fish under cold running water and pat dry. Mix together parmesan cheese, curry powder, and salt. Set a pan over medium heat and add oil. Dredge each fish in parmesan mixture. Sear fish on both sides until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Place on a roasting rack in oven, belly side down, and roast for 5 to 8 minutes or until done (when internal temperature reaches 145°F). The fish can be served on top of fresh greens, braised lentils, or braised cauliflower.
You may substitute the sea robin with monkfish, pollock, halibut, scallops, sea raven, or sculpin.
This recipe can be found in “Simmering the Sea, Diversifying Cookery to Sustain our Fisheries” a new local seafood cookbook produced in collaboration between the non-profit Eating with the Ecosystem, the University of Rhode Island, and Johnson & Wales University.
For more delicious recipes and to pick up a copy of the new cookbook visit www.eatingwiththeecosystem.org/simmering-the-sea.