The Fantastic Mr. Feedbag

A website celebrating and enumerating Juneau, Alaska's food culture

Pesto Rockfish with Rebecca

with 7 comments


For just over a year, I was in the Masters of Arts in Teaching program in secondary education. The experience was incredible. I loved student teaching at Floyd Dryden with my awesome host teacher, and peer learning community. It may sound cheesy, but I’ve missed my students this summer, and I know that they’ll all go on to do some great things with their lives.

The MAT program is only a year long, and so the course work is intense. The summer session has classes that span about three weeks long. One of my favorite people to work with in the MAT program has been my friend, Rebecca. I made a lot of friends in the program who are going all around the world, and state to teach. I’ll miss them all – especially old Jim-Bob, Chris, Nick, Mara, and Abe. I’ll be thinking good thoughts for Summer and Jennie as they go on into the next two quarters of the program, and finish up their student teaching.

A difficult thing for me during my Master’s program was not having enough time to prepare good food, and not getting enough sleep. I worked part-time during the program, an average of three evenings a week at two different local restaurants. It was difficult, but the reward of not having a student loan payment makes me feel like it was worth it. My friend Rebecca and I bonded the last couple of weeks of class. During our break we’d work on course work, and share our lunches. Often we had strangely constructed salads, made from random scraps we grabbed from our kitchens in the morning mad dash to school.

Last week we got together a couple of times to work on our Teacher Work Samples and portfolios, and ate decent food. Rebecca has a pretty good line of fresh local fish, and this fresh rockfish was fabulous.

We prepared the rockfish by baking it in an iron skillet with a simple rub of pesto, salt, and fresh ground pepper. Fresh fish doesn’t need much to be delicious, but it’s easily dried out if you bake it without a source of moisture. This iron skillet recipe could accommodate many kinds of fish.


Rebecca and I talked about how rockfish is often called a poor man’s version of halibut. We decided that this particular rockfish was actually just as flavorful, if not better than halibut that we’d both had this summer. Rockfish can be rad!

– Three to four filets of fresh rockfish (or whatever fish you have available)
– Two tablespoons of olive oil
– Fresh ground pepper & sea salt to lightly coat the filets
– One to two tablespoons of pesto (freshly made, or store bought: Costco brand is good & affordable) to coat each filet

– Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees
– Coat the pan in one to two tablespoons of olive oil
– Grind fresh pepper & sprinkle sea salt liberally on each side of your filets
– Rub a tablespoon or two of pesto into each side of your filets
– Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes (check on your filets at 20 minutes, or so to see if the fish is flaking – a good indication that it’s done)

Serving Suggestion:
We made an awesome fresh green salad with pine nuts and feta cheese to accompany our pesto rockfish filets. I’d suggest serving this fish with a Pinot Grigio, or an Alaskan Pale Ale.


7 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I agree that rockfish is as good as halibut–a little different texture, but really, really good. Sounds like a great way to to it. Fresh fish doesn’t need a lot of help.

    Kimberly Metcalfe

    July 14, 2012 at 10:55 am

    • Mom, I think we need to get a skiff. I wish we had more fishermen in the family to bring us fresh fish.

      Patrice Helmar

      July 16, 2012 at 3:07 am

  2. This is a good posting to remind us of the simple things. My 80-year-old cast iro skillet is what I use daily, and it is simplicity itself; cast iron is cleaned with water only, and regular use keeps it from sticking. The other simple thing is using our local fish; your story reminded me that another MAT graduate, Ben Crozier, stopped by last summer and shared his catch of king salmon and sablefish (black cod.) We put a little salt and pepper on them and grilled them quickly. The black cod simply melted in our mouths–there’s nothing like getting it fresh.

    George Gress

    July 14, 2012 at 11:53 am

    • I love cooking with our cast iron skillets. I find myself using my skillet(s) almost daily in some way or another. They’re perfect for baking rice, making home fries, or in this case: making fish. Fresh fish and good old skillets are the way to go!

      Patrice Helmar

      July 16, 2012 at 3:06 am

  3. Yum! I am honored to be highlighted in your blog, Patrice! Thanks for sharing. That sure was a delicious meal, and good brain food for finishing our portfolios!

    Rebecca Hartwell

    July 15, 2012 at 8:42 am

    • Yes! We’ll have to make another good meal when I get back from Iceland!

      Patrice Helmar

      July 16, 2012 at 3:06 am

  4. Simon made me this at my request the other night. He made homemade pesto with pine nuts and we used lingcod. So very yummy. Our 4 year old loved it!

    Jill Taylor

    July 18, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: