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Bob Hart’s Rockling on the Barbie


There is no shortage of glorious, fresh, local fish available to Victorians ? even those who don’t manage to catch their own. But there are few better table fish, especially this summer, than rockling ? a delicate white fish with a wonderful, almost crunchy, texture.

Flavour can be an issue, for there is no doubting that this fish can be a bit on the bland side unless you work on it. Which is precisely what I suggest you do.And best of all, even though this dish cooks simply and deliciously on a gas grill, if you can cook it over charcoal and add a touch of hickory smoke to the mix?

– 4 x rockling fillets

– 12 x long bacon rashers 

– EV Olive Oil 

– EV Salt & Pepper

– Lemon 

– Best Foods Mayo

– A garlic clove 

– Cayenne pepper

Prepare four thick, centre fillets of rockling, ideally by sectioning the loin of a large fish. Cut the portions you need from the loin ? or have your fishmonger do it for you ? and use these sturdy sections. Or with smaller fish, simply work with the fillets.

Now, prepare four of those single-portion fillets by wrapping them in long strips of streaky bacon ? a good butcher will source these for you – to prevent your grill and the forces of nature from turning the fish into roadkill, and to add some extra salty, smoky flavour.

A dozen rashers will do ? three for each fillet. To soften these, place six on a dinner plate, the other six on top but perpendicular to those in the first layer. Top them all with a second dinner plate, weighted, and microwave for a couple of minutes to cook the rashers slightly and soften them to make them very pliable. Let them cool.

Place the fillets on a large plate or baking sheet, brush with EV olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Add some lemon zest, also. Now wrap each fillet evenly with a couple of strips of the cooled bacon ? locking the ends of bacon in place, under the fillet, with a dollop of Best Foods mayo.

Place the wrapped fillets on a hot, clean and oiled grill and drop the lid. After about five minutes, carefully turn each fillet and roast, lid down, for another four minutes, or until the fish is just cooked through and beginning to flake easily. And that’s it.

Serve these tasty fillets on a bed of freshly cooked and well seasoned rice or on a buttery mash. Top each with a generous splodge of the aforementioned Best Foods, but this time livened up a bit: to a cup of the mayo, add the juice of half a lemon, a clove of pressed garlic and a generous pinch of cayenne pepper. Or perhaps some chopped, fresh tarragon is your herb garden is delivering.