Blackened Rockfish Tacos

I threw this recipe together around the time our kids started fishing and Chris got really into shore diving. We began having an abundance of smallish rockfish in our home and I wasn’t interested in firing up the fryer for another round of fish’n’chips.

These fish tacos/burritos have become a weekly go-to in our home since the thin fillets thaw out so quickly. Our kids have gone as far as referring to Kelp Greenling as ‘Fish-a-rito Fish’.

We usually load our tortillas with some home-canned beans (watch for recipe), blackened fish, chopped greens, sour cream, and Homemade Salsa, or ‘secret sauce’ if it’s mid-winter and the produce ran out.

This recipe is great for any kind of Pacific Northwest rockfish you might come across (Black Rockfish, Greenling, Kelp Cod, Ling Cod, Gray Cod, etc.) and, actually, the smaller the fish, the better.

Note: We choose not to cook halibut this way as it tends to dry out.

Blackened Rockfish Tacos

A quick and delicious meal to create out of any Alaska rockfish you come across (though we prefer not to cook halibut this way as it tends to dry out).
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Course: Main Course
Keyword: blackened, fish, quick, rockfish, tacos
Servings: 4 Adults


Blackened Rockfish

  • 1 lbs Rockfish - (black rockfish, ling cod, gray cod, grayling, etc.), 2-3 small fillets, skinned
  • 2 Tbs Butter + extra
  • 1 Tbs Lemon pepper
  • 1 Tbs Cumin

Secret Sauce (optional)

  • ¼ Cup Mayonaise
  • 2 Tbs Sriracha Sauce

Tacos - add your favorite ingredients to this list!

  • Tortillas
  • Beans
  • Cheese
  • Cabbage - thinly sliced
  • Salsa


Secret Sauce (you can make this in advance and store in your fridge for months)

  • Combine mayonnaise and Sriracha sauce. Mix until one color.
  • Give sauce a quick taste and adjust spice level as needed.

Cooking The Fish

  • Lay the fillets out on a cutting board and remove any pin bones. This can be done by pulling individual bones or cutting out the strip of meat around them.
  • Place 2 Tbs of butter in a large frying pan (I prefer cast-iron) over Med-High heat. Let the butter and pan heat up as you prep the fish.
  • If rockfish fillets are more than 1 inch thick, fillet them in half.
  • Cut fillets long-wise into 1 to 2 inch strips following any striations, then cut cross-wise creating chunks of fish no larger than 2x2 inch squares.
  • Lay chunks of fish out on cutting board and generously sprinkle the top sides with lemon pepper and cumin.
  • Using tongs, lay 1 chunk of fish upside down in hot pan to check that butter and pan are ready. If the butter sizzles, then it is ready for the rest of the fish.
  • Lay the remaining fish chunks upside down in the hot pan.
  • Generously sprinkle the top sides with lemon pepper and cumin.
  • As the fish cooks, it will change color & texture. The thinner pieces may start to curl, and the cooked meat will turn opaque. Turn the thin pieces over first, letting the thicker pieces continue to cook.
  • If the bottom of the pan looks dry or fish is difficult to flip, you can add butter to the pan, 1 Tbs at a time.
  • Turn the thicker pieces over when you can tell that they are cooked ½ way through their thickness.
  • Remove individual fish chunks from pan when they become flakey. Check them by pressing on them with tongs and let them crumble into pan.
  • Do not overcook fish, or it will become dry and tough.
  • After fish is done and while pan is still hot, carefully pour a thin layer of water into pan to steam clean. As it cools, you should be able to scrape off any cooked-on remnants.

Build your tacos as desired


      Recipe By, Amelia Pollack

      Amelia Pollack, a lifetime Alaskan, is an avid fisherman, hiker, hunter, gatherer, chef of wild-caught foods, & mother of 3. 

      Amelia and her husband, Chris, created Alaska Freediver as a way to share their love for Alaska’s bounty with all of you.


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