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Two Approaches to the Perfect Orange Roughy

 How do you bake orange roughy? What ingredients are needed?

 Basically orange roughy and heat.

Since orange roughy is not an oily fish, you might like to use a little butter or olive oil to lubricate it (perhaps 3 tablespoons for 2 pounds). You could also jazz it up with a little dry white wine or dry sherry (perhaps another 3 tablespoons). If you just wanted to go hog wild, you could sprinkle on a little chopped parsley before it goes into the oven (a tablespoon, perhaps). Then pop the fillets into a 400°F (205°C) oven, and bake for 12 minutes per inch of thickness. It is done when you cut into the thickest part and find it opaque.

Now, if you'd like something a little fancier, you can take a traditional recipe like Fillets of Sole Bercy and use your orange roughy instead. The recipe traditionally calls for whole fish, from which you use the head and bones to make a poaching liquid. Orange roughy, caught in the depths of the South Pacific, is filleted and frozen before it reaches us in North America. So in the sad absence of fish heads and bones and the opportunity to make your own stock, we'll let you poach the fish in white wine.

Fillets of Sole Bercy
[made with orange roughy instead of sole, and white wine instead of homemade fish stock, but we'll still call the recipe Fillets of Sole Bercy, because Orange Roughy Bercy just sounds silly….]
From Fish & Shellfish, by James Peterson


Four 6 to 8 ounce pieces of orange roughy fillet
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 shallots, finely chopped,
2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Salt and white pepper


Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C). Sprinkle the bottom of the baking dish just large enough to hold the fillets in a single layer with the chopped shallots. Arrange the fillets side by side, bone side up. Pour in just enough white wine to come halfway up the fillets.

Place a baking dish on the stove over medium heat (if the baking dish is glass, use a heat distributor such as a Flame-Tamer) until the liquid just begins to simmer. Loosely cover the baking dish with a sheet of aluminum foil. Immediately place the baking dish in the oven and braise for 2 to 10 minutes, about 10 minutes per inch of thickness.

When the fillets are done — a tiny piece cut into with a fork should pull away easily — carefully transfer them to hot plates and then strain the liquid left in the baking dish into a small saucepan (if you're not bothered by the shallots, just make the sauce in the baking dish.)

Quickly boil the braising liquid down to about 1/3 cup — it should be lightly syrupy — and add the parsley. Whisk in the butter over medium heat without letting the liquid boil. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the sauce over the fillets and serve immediately.

Yield: Serves 4


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