When I first discovered orange roughy about 20 years ago, I was pleasantly surprised by this mild and tender fish. Its firm flesh was pure white, like flakes of moonlight; its name had been misleading. In further contrast, the lovely fillets actually come from a rather large fish with a huge head. The orange roughy is from the slimehead family and traditionally has a long lifespan, maturing very slowly. Because it does not grow very fast, it is said that it has been exploited to the extent that in some areas in and around Australia’s waters, it is considered endangered because of over fishing. The seafood industry is scrambling to come up with a suitable substitute should orange roughy become even harder to come by.
There are tons of recipes for orange roughy. It has been blackened to death, baked, broiled, fried, grilled, steamed and poached. However, this fish is best appreciated in the simplest manner possible. Baking orange roughy preserves the integrity of the firm yet fragile texture, and allows its flavor to remain and blend well with whatever spices and herbs you add to it.
By stuffing orange roughy with a delicately flavored filling and baking it for a just a few minutes, the fragrant fish is ready to be presented for a quick and light meal.
Stuffed Orange Roughy
Preheat Oven to 325 F
6 Orange roughy fillets
2 tablespoon dry basil leaves
pinch of seasoned garlic salt
pinch of dried Italian Seasoning
ground white pepper
1 16 oz. pkg. frozen spinach (thawed and drained)
1 cup of stoplight bell peppers (red, yellow and green), sliced in thin strips
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon fresh minced basil
1 teaspoon fresh dill
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
¼ teaspoon sea salt
butter or olive oil
Mix all of the ingredients for the filling in a large bowl. With your hands, shape the mixture into six (6) spinach balls. Place one spinach ball on top of each fish fillet, and begin rolling (jelly roll style) until you have six “pinwheels.”
Place the pinwheels in a 9” x 13” buttered glass or ceramic baking dish. You may substitute olive oil for the butter if you wish.
Sprinkle the fish with the seasoned garlic salt, basil, Italian Seasoning, pepper and paprika to color. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and bake 15 minutes.