The fish known as rascasse in French is called scorpion fish or rock fish in English. Apparently the name derives from the Provençal word rascous, meaning ‘rough’ or ‘ornery’. It’s a rather ugly creature and some varieties are even venomous — but, thankfully, not on the plate. The rascasse is plentiful in the Mediterranean, and marries well with Provençal flavors like black olives, garlic and thyme, especially when blended together.
Rascasse à la tapenade / Mediterranean fish with black olive sauce
Because the rascasse is a firm-fleshed fish that holds together pretty well during cooking, it is often used in southern French dishes like bouillabaisse. The good news for cooks who don’t have access to rascasse is that this recipe may be made with any firm-fleshed saltwater fish — cod, porgy, striped bass, etc. Served with a tapenade olive sauce, and some tomatoes and basil for garnish, it makes a delightful summer meal.
Site news: This is the penultimate recipe of the summer. After one more post next Friday, The Everyday French Chef will be on vacation in August, resuming the recipes in September. (Looking ahead, don’t be surprised to find some California flavors coming your way.) In the meantime, the Everyday Menus have been updated for summer and I will update the Weekend Menus over the next week.
If you have not yet explored the Menus section, you may want to take a look. As it happens, Everyday Menus is the most popular page on the site after the home page. It includes menus for omnivores, vegetarians and vegans, is arranged in seasonal fashion, and may one day form the basis of a cookbook. I’m still pondering how to proceed on that front. Maybe California dream time over the next few weeks will provide some answers.