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ROUGH SKETCH : A Tough-Sounding Fish From New Zealand Invades Southern California

June 01, 1986|BETSY BALSLEY | Betsy Balsley is food editor of The Times.

The fish with the funny name is making it big in California. Orange Roughy, a type of sea perch that was relatively unknown here until it was introduced from New Zealand, has bright-orange skin and a rather firm texture. Its delicate, slightly sweet taste is anything but funny or fishy, which makes it perfect for baking, broiling, barbecuing or sauteeing. PRODUCED BY ROBIN TUCKER FOOD STYLIST: NONA BAER ART BY JEFFERSON STILLWELL DINNER PLATE FROM BULLOCK'S SERVICE PLATE FROM THE BROADWAY LINENS, FLATWARE FROM LAWRY'S CALIFORNIA CENTER GIFT SHOP, LOS ANGELES GRILLED ORANGE ROUGHY WITH FRESH VEGETABLES

2 pounds fresh or frozen orange roughy fillets

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

1 teaspoon salt

3 strips bacon, diced

6 large green onions, about 1 cup, sliced

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1 1/2 cups chopped fresh Italian tomatoes

6 to 8 pitted black olives, sliced

1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

Thaw fish if frozen. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Brush both sides of fillets with melted butter and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Place fish in greased, hinged wire grill.

Saute bacon until crisp. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Add onions and green pepper to drippings. Cook until onions are tender, but not brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add tomatoes, olives, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and Old Bay Seasoning. Cook until tomatoes are heated through but still hold shape.

Grill fish about 5 inches from moderately hot coals 4 to 5 minutes, basting with butter. Turn and grill 4 to 5 minutes longer, or until fish flakes easily when tested with fork. Brush with melted butter as needed.

Sprinkle bacon over vegetable sauce. Serve immediately with cooked fish. Makes 6 servings.

Note: Old Bay Seasoning is available at most supermarkets.

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