At his former Tanglewood restaurant, Bramble, chef Randy Rucker liked to keep his seafood dishes simple. Before closing shop and moving to Colorado, one of Rucker's most popular dishes was his redfish on the half-shell, a classic Gulf Coast preparation that uses the species’ thick skin and heavy scales as an insulating layer to gently steam the flesh in its own juices while perfuming it with smoke from the fire underneath. Diners eat the flesh straight from the hard “shell” of skin.
Chef Brandi Key of SaltAir Seafood Kitchen learned how to cook redfish the same way working at Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen and still uses the technique. “Fish that has been cooked on the half shell, when executed properly, is the perfect example of what fish should be: moist, delicate, meaty and unctuous all at the same time,” she says.