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Cooking sea robin?

I never even thought this "fish" was edible.

I grew up and live at the Jersey Shore. My dad had 2 daughters instead of sons so he took us to do all of the things he would have done with boys... including charter boat fishing. Long story short, I've seen probably 100 sea robins bashed against the side of the boat to stun them so the mates could remove them from the hook.

Why did they never offer them to the people fishing on the boat? Guaranteed you'd always catch at least 2 sea robins to 1 fluke/flounder.

I was intrigued when I read about the Las Vegas Border Grill Trash Fish dinner a couple of weeks ago. They served sea robin ceviche as one of the first courses.

Has anyone ever attempted to cook sea robin before? If so, how?

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  1. I bought a couple of filets at the greenmarket early in the summer (they were really cheap, unsurprisingly). The seller advised me to dredge them in seasoned flour and saute them, so I did. They were okay, didn't taste like much. I think you'd be better off using sea robin in a fish soup or stew, as it seems sturdy enough for that.

    1. Former neighbor would go out fishing as often as possible... would actually save a few "sick" days for during school year!?! He kept/cleaned/ate/shared just about EVERYTHING he caught. Think the problem with Sea Robins is that there's more to toss than eat?? Big, UGLY head and small edible tail. Remember it being mild and fairly firm.

      1. I've caught more of them ugly things than I'd ever care to count. Closest thing we ever did to eatin' 'em though, was to cut 'em in half and use the tail end for crab bait.

        1. I love sea robin. The tails are comparable to sea bass...nice and firm, and can be cooked any way you like- filleted and fried or broiled, or the tails can be left whole and steamed. The trick is to just keep the largest ones...of which there are usually plenty. I've caught them up to 3 lbs. As much as I love them, I usually release them...they are too cute and have too much personality...staring at you with those big eyes and making croaking noises. Be careful with the heads when you handle them- they are very spiny. (They are also the west Atlantic relative of the "rascasse" used in bouillabaise.)

          1. I think quite a number of people have attempted to *cook* sea robin.

            Now, attempting to *eat* it might be a different issue ...

            1. Many years ago, fishing in Long Island with hand lines, my relatives were loathe to throw anything back - sea robin was kept for brudette (tomato-based fish stew) or fried. Nice size ones aren't bad.

              I was really surprised to see them the other day at my local fish market. My dad and I had no desire to buy them - preferring blue fish and a doormat sized flounder, both destined for the grill - yum!

              1. SHHHHHHH!!!! don't tell everyone !!!
                next thing you know they'll be charging $10.99 a Lb for the darned things!

                I've always used them for stock. I do sometimes fry them. better than summer flounder or fluke.
                if I fillet them and make stock with the bones and head I add the cubed fillets to the chowder.

                if I tell you the french use them, and many other 'by catch' / 'trash' fish to make bouillabaisse, would that mean anything to anyone???

                porgy/scup/sea bream... the world over a renowned fish. in the USA, trash...LOL
                "you can lead a horse to water..."

                a "Las Vegas Border Grill Trash Fish dinner" is brilliant !!! Free or Cheap fish served at a premium price ! at least they claim it's for some kind of 'worthy' cause...
                other than I think most of the fish is better tasting than a plain bland muddy fillet of flounder, I also want to believe that drunks will eat anything... LOL

                1. I caught one in the Long Island Sound and I cut the line.

                  1. I'll always throw the first one back but as soon as 2-3 more come over the rail I start keeping them. Got a dozen yesterday. The meat is very sweet, they eat crabs and such and taste of it. I take the tail meat off, cut out the pin bones, dredge in flour, brown them and them simmer them in marinara sauce for 20 minutes and usually serve it with pasta.

                    BTW, in Marseilles in the south of France one of the essential ingredients of bouillabaisse, the classic 'fish stew", is what they call a "grondin", shown in the above photo from a French fishing website.

                    Look familiar?

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Recoil Rob

                      That is a ginormous sea robin!!!!!

                      1. re: Njchicaa

                        That was my first thought as well, but I think it's just the angle and close up... If you use the fingers as scale, seems like it's not that big. I may be mistaken though as I had the same initial impression you did.

                        Also, that's not a sea robin, that's Jar Jar Binks!

                      2. re: Recoil Rob

                        Well, that pic's of one of the French ones, the grondin, and it is big for an American sea robin.

                        1. re: Recoil Rob

                          fair enough. i did some research after you posted the pic. fascinating stuff! thanks for sharing.

                          although when i first saw the pic, i thought it was gargantuan....

                      3. I taught my three daughters how to fish on the Jersey Shore also.
                        The four of us always talked about "what do you think a Sea Robin would taste like?" We knew it was a white meat as we used strips of the belly for Fluke bait. So one day we caught several larger Sea Robins off the Manasquan Beach and decided to give them a try. I filleted the fish as you would a small blue fish and removed the skin. We then dipped them in a beer batter and fried them in peanut oil.Wow we were surprised, almost as good as Fluke!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: BassBlitz

                          Good for you and the girls, they can save a day on the water when nothing else will keep the kids interested...

                        2. Just had sea robin sashimi. Pretty good actually. firm white fish, not a ton of flavor, but very clean and crisp tasting. I'd have it again in the future. Called "houbou."

                          1. Go to Monterey Fish Company website and look up sea robin. Rated excellent but hard to fish commercially so very expensive. I throw some olive oil in a pan, sprinkle lemon juice and Mrs Dash and pepper. Bake at 380 for about 10 - 12 min. Dense, firm white meat and no fishy taste. Best, Sandy

                            1. Fry it in brown butter just laddle the butter over the fish as it frys put a sprig of sage or tarragon and a garlic clove to the butter while you fry it. Also great in greek or italian fish soups. Oh you can also try dog fish the same way.