Today I was searching for a perfect fish day for a dreary February day. I wanted something that tasted both bright and refreshing, almost promising that warmer weather was on the horizon, but still connected to the current season of Winter.

I found a splendid piece of freshly caught canary rockfish at my local fishmonger. Its skin was in lovely hues of yellow and orange, reminding me of the sun on a lazy summertime afternoon. I decided to serve my rockfish on a crunchy, citrusy-tasting salad of julienned fennel, green bean, sweet onions, and blood orange segments tossed in an orange sherry vinaigrette. A decided move away from the heaviness found in most truly Winter dishes and a huge step towards Spring.


The name rockfish refers to an array of closely related fish, all sporting ferocious-looking spines, bony plates, brilliant colors, and a wide variety of markings. The rockfish’s striking appearance inspired its genus name, Sebastes, which means “magnificent”. An unbelievable sixty-five species of rockfish still roam the waters between the Gulf of California and Alaska. Rockfish are extremely slow growing, depending on the species, they reach maturity anywhere from seven to 20 years and have life spans from 40 to 114 years.

In life, the best things are often the simplest. Try this easy to make salad guaranteed to brighten the end of February and make you dream of Summer. Please hashtag us at #PistouAndPastis so we can see your handiwork.

Sauteed Rockfish

Salad of Fennel, Green Beans, Sweet Onions & Blood Oranges

A deliciously refreshing salad with crispy fish in a sherry — orange vinaigrette

Servings 4


for the fish

  • 1 tsp herbes de Provence
  • 1 tsp piment d’ville
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 4 pieces 6-oz rockfish filet (or halibut, cod, salmon, or any other fish)
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

sherry orange vinaigrette

  • 1 tbsp blood orange juice
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

for the fennel salad

  • 1 head fennel shaved as thin as possible
  • 1 small sweet onion sliced as thin as possible
  • 4 ounces green beans blanched, chilled
  • 2 blood oranges peeled, segmented


for the fish

  1. Mix the herbes de Provence, piment d’ville, and sea salt together in a bowl. Season the fish on both sides, then dredge in the flour. Let sit in flour while heating oil. If you are gluten free simply omit the flour or use alternative flour.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter and olive oil together in a saute pan large enough to accommodate the fish filets. When the oil mixture is smoking hot put the fish in skin side down and put some sort of heavy weight on top. I used a cast iron skillet to press the fish down and get the skin crispy.
  3. Let cook for five minutes over moderate heat, then flip over and continue cooking for another five minutes. The fish is probably done now.

sherry orange vinaigrette

  1. While the fish is cooking make the vinaigrette by putting all three ingredients in a glass jar with a pinch of salt and pepper. Shake vigorously.

for the fennel salad

  1. Mix the fennel, onion, cooked green beans, and orange segments together with the vinaigrette and let sit. You could even make this ahead of time.

finishing the dish

  1. Put a quarter of the salad onto the center of a dinner plate. Top with a piece of fish and enjoy!


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Written by

My earliest attempt at cookery began with the filleting of my sister's goldfish at age 2 and cooking my pet rabbits by age 7. Life has been downhill ever since.

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