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Steam-Roasted Rockfish With Verbena-Scented Tomatoes

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“My homage to summer. Fresh salad of juicy tomatoes and crisp apples with herbal hints of lemon and anise... Rockfish (striped bass) steams in a firey-hot oven -- creating texture like cool, sweetcream butter... Please add Verbena to your herb garden!”

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 12 cup water
  • 12 teaspoon tomato paste (I use the handy squeeze tubes now!)
  • 4 small lemon verbena, sprigs
  • 12 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 18 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cucumber (Seeds removed, very small dice)
  • 2 apples (Braeburns are my favorite(peeled and very small dice-about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 beefsteak tomato (peeled, seeds removed very small dice(try "Brandywine" or "Pruden's purple" varieties)
  • 12 cherry tomatoes (or yellow pear varieties-quartered)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil (chiffonade)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 12 lbs rockfish (skinless, boneless -cut into 4 portions)


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 500'F.
  2. Bring water and tomato paste to a simmer and add verbena and lemon zest. Remove from heat and let steep for about 15 minutes.
  3. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the cucumber, apples and tomatoes, adding them to the olive oil so they don't change color. Season with salt and pepper (Sometimes I add the tiniest pinch of celery seed).
  5. Chop herbs and set aside.
  6. Place seasoned fish in a baking dish with plenty of room. Add the boiling water to the baking dish so that 1/4 of the fish is covered (no more!). Bake for 8 minutes.
  7. While fish is baking, strain and re-heat tomato water. Add this to the salad. Add the herbs.
  8. Carefully place the cooked fish onto your serving plate with the salad spooned over the top. Can you smell it?

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