Tuesday, Jim “Sevy” Severson and I met Scott Swicker, a fisherman in Gloucester, Mass. His boat, the Aaron and Alexa, was full of fish he’d just pulled in from the Georges Bank region of the Gulf of Maine. One species was the wolfish (wolf fish, wolffish, ocean cat, lupe de mer). Sevy likes wolfish—the unsightly sucker feeds on clams and lobsters and once you get past his ugly mug, the meat is, like me, sweet and flaky. Sevy decided to feature the wolfish as a special on Thursday at Sevy’s Grill.
We watched as the boat was unloaded and the catch was weighed and processed through the Steve Connolly Seafood Company in Gloucester, MA. The next morning we were in Connolly’s packing plant in Boston when the wolfish arrived. Sevy was standing over the box as his order was packed. We followed the box out to the dock where it was loaded into a refrigerated truck and whisked away to the airport. I hopped on another flight and got back in time to head over to Sevy’s where chef Michael “Buzzy” Zeve was waiting with the wolfish in a pan.
By 8:00 p.m. last night, our table of six was feasting on wolfish. It’s not gorgeous on the plate either, but the meaty fish is simply prepared and a delight. Here is how Buzzy cooked it:
I season with sea salt and course brown pepper and pan sear it in olive oil on the presentation side for about a minute and a half. Then I flip it over and finish it off in the oven for about 5 minutes. I served it on top of orzo folded with a puree of basil and reduced cream. I surround it with a roasted red pepper beurre blanc. It’s all pretty straightforward.
The preparation and presentation may be simple and straightforward, but how the fish gets from the ocean to your plate in Dallas is quite the opposite. And despite being landlocked, Dallas is a market that receives some of the freshest seafood in the country. Thanks to our central location, fresh fish from the Gulf of Maine hits Dallas well before the west coast.