Part of the drum family Sciaenidae, the weakfish is a medium-large marine fish that can be found along the east coast of North America. The fish has a dark-brown, greenish head and back with silvery sides. Its name is related to its weak mouth muscles that often cause the fishing hook to tear free and thus allow the fish to escape. This species is fished both for food as well as a recreational pastime.
Weakfish can reach 3 feet in length and weigh 20 pounds. The flesh is white and has a light taste with ample moisture content. The sweetly flavored fish can be substituted by bluefish, cod, and haddock when necessary. This round saltwater fish is also known as sea trout even if it is not related to the trout in the family Salmonidae.
Given its taste and white meat, the weakfish can be fried, grilled, broiled, and baked in various ways according to the cook’s preferences. To check the weakfish for doneness, it is recommended to use a sharp knife to cut through the thickest part of its fillet. You can even use your fishing knife. If the meat is properly cooked, it should be opaque and moist. Here are some of the most popular ways to cook weakfish.
Weakfish on the grill
If you often go for grilled foods and you’d like to try weakfish that way, you can opt for this easy recipe. You need four weakfish fillets with the skin on, some Old Bay seasoning, the juice of half a lemon, one small onion, 2 cloves of garlic, half a teaspoon of thyme, 3 teaspoons of butter, two cups of white wine, and salt and pepper.
Wash the fillets well and then place them on a heavy-duty foil. Try to create a sealed unit for each fillet by bringing the edges of the foil up to 2 inches. Sprinkle the fillets with lemon juice, half a cup of white wine, Old Bay seasoning, salt, and pepper. Mix the garlic and onion and place them over the fillets.
Use a teaspoon of butter to top each fillet and then place all the fish pieces on the grill and let them cook for 10-15 minutes. The key to successful weakfish cooking is to not overcook it. Once they’re done, you can serve the weakfish fillets with grilled vegetables.
In case baked fish suits your preferences better, you can diversify your culinary habits with this recipe. You will need minced onion, mushrooms, parsley, salt, pepper, and grated nutmeg to season the fish. Arrange it with this mixture on a buttered baking dish.
Use white stock and white wine to moisten the fish and then cover it with small bits of butter. Bring the whole thing to the boil and then move it in the oven. Remove the weakfish and use butter and crumbs to thicken the sauce in the oven. Add some lemon juice over the fish when everything’s done and serve it in the baking dish.
Another way to bake weakfish is to clean and split it, then season it with salt and pepper. Place the fish into a buttered baking pan with its skin side up. Rub it with butter and then bake it. Make sure you don’t overcook it. Melt some butter and pour it over the fish when it’s done. You can also sprinkle some parsley before serving.
Probably one of the most common ways to cook fish is to fry it. If you want to give weakfish a fried try, you will have to season the fillets with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Mix two tablespoons of olive oil with well-beaten eggs. Dip the fillets in flour and then in this mixture and, lastly, in crumbs. Fry the fish in deep fat and use tomato sauce to serve it.
You can also use just salt and pepper to season the fillets and then fry them in butter. Once they’re done, drain them and keep them warm. Add a cup of white wine and two cups of Veloute Sauce to the butter and let the mixture boil for five minutes.
Remove it from the heat source and beat the yolks of three eggs with three tablespoons of butter and the juice of half a lemon. Add the new mixture to the one you boiled and heat it a bit. Do not boil it, though. Enrich the sauce with some cooked oysters or mushrooms and pour it over the fish.
Turbans of weakfish
For this recipe, you will need four fillets. Start by removing the skin and the bones. Chop a few oysters and mix them with crumbs. Roll the fish up, fasten with skewers, and place it in a buttered baking pan. Use butter paper to cover the whole thing and bake it until it is done.
Now remove the skewers and let the food cool. Dip the fish in crumbs and in beaten eggs, then in crumbs again. Fry the fillets in deep fat, drain them when they’re done, and serve them with the Ravigote sauce.
Weakfish with herb sauce
If you prefer baking the weakfish, here is another recipe you can try. The recipe requires 24 ounces of weakfish fillets, two tablespoons of low-fat yogurt, three tablespoons of mayonnaise, ¼ teaspoon of marjoram and the same quantity of thyme, onion powder, rosemary, and tarragon.
You will also need three tablespoons of chopped pimiento, half a small cup of dry white wine, salt, and black pepper. Start by rinsing the fish thoroughly. Dry it with paper towels. Spray a baking dish with vegetable oil and place the fillets in it.
Mix the rest of the ingredients, except for the wine, and spread the mixture on top of the weakfish fillets. Pour the dry white wine over. You can use dry vermouth, too. Bake it uncovered for 25-30 minutes. Use a fork to try the fish and if it flakes easily, it means it is done.