Recipe: Grilled Cabazon with Sumac & Green Peppercorn

We had a few Cabazon (Scorpaenichthys marmoratus) late tonight so we filleted them kind of rough before heading home:

Filleting a cabazon is a bit tricky as there are a row of pin bones running down from the upper mid head (hah .. its mostly head!), so you want to cut a full fillet from the belly up till you hit those row of bones, then skip over them for the main chunk. Then you can cut a small fillet from the remaining and pull the bones using plyers.

Made a rub using about 2 teaspoon Turkish Sumac, 1 teaspoon of green peppercorns and a few good pinches of kosher salt in the food processor and then dosed the fillets with some light olive oil and a clove or two of garlic & mixed them all in a bowl

Funny thing about Sumac -- turns out its made from berries of what we'd call poison oak here in Oregon.  The Turks, and other middle easterners use it as a spice.  We got a bunch from my Ma who just came back from a trip to Turkey.  Its ground rough and is dark red, kind of sharp peppery flavor almost like tandoori spice, but not over powering like chili or hardcore curry. Its not really required for making good Cabazon but I wanted to give it a try - you could put just about anything on this fish and I'd be good I reckon. More about Sumac Spice ..

These fillets were about 1-1/2 inch thick so I did around 8 minutes a side on the high heat -- you just have to watch em and feel when they're ready to flip. All those spices blacked up and the Cabazon stayed moist in the center. Nothing worse than over cooking your fish, so always error on the side of underdone, rather than leaving it on for longer. Cabazon is a great fish for grilling since its so dense and doesn't tend to fall apart on the grill. Using the olive oil in the marinade also gives you a bit of love when you go to turn it -- not a lot of fat on this fish so it will stick to your grill a lot of times without the oil.

cabazon done!cabazon done!

Sumac went great with this fish .. strangest thing eating ground up poison oak berries on this ugly assed fish, but I gotta say it was FANTASTIC


keep fishing and grilling -- The Harvester