Monday, August 24, 2009

Striped Bass: Two Ways!

Oh, it feels good to be back! After my family and friends caught over 200 POUNDS of fish while vacationing in Block Island, we were not quite sure what to do it all. While the fisher-folk were bringing in their catch, my mom, our friend, Brenda, and I were brainstorming about what to do with it all.

Sell it? Eh.

Perhaps we could give it to a restaurant and have them cook it for us... but who wants to pay for a dinner that they caught?

Then I had an idea: Why not have a last hurrah at our house in Fairfield and cook all of the fish. With that quantity the possibilities would be endless! It was settled. I started planning what I was going to do with these fish, while my mom took the helm with the rest of the sides.

Most of the fish caught were Striped Bass. Bass is such a delicious, meaty, light, white fish that you don't want to overwhelm with too many cumbersome add-ons. My mom prepped the Bluefish to be roasted with bacon, and I decided on Striped Bass with a Mango Puree, and Lemon Poached Bass.

Grilled Striped Bass

2 Striped Bass Fillets, scaled
4 cloves Garlic
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Pepper

1) In a food processor, combine garlic, oil, and mustard until emulsified.

2) Brush one side of the fish with the oil and garlic, top with salt and pepper.

3) With the grill on medium heat, lay the fish oil-side-down across the grates. Be very careful when you put the fish down. The grill is hot and wherever you put that fish is where its going to stay -- it sticks immediately. You'll know when the fish is ready to flip when you can slide your spatula under the fish and it lifts without sticking.

4) While the fish is on the grill, brush the garlic oil to the other side, flip when its ready.

5) When the fish is white in the middle (but not translucent) it is ready to come off. Be careful not to over-cook the fish, it doesn't take a lot of time (maybe 8 minutes on the grill). When it's good to go, use two spatulas to lift it so it is supported and doesn't fall apart when you transfer it to your plate.

Serve with Mango Puree. That's the kicker!

Mango Puree

2-3 Ripe Mangoes, sliced
1/8 cup Red Onion
1 Chili Pepper
1/4 cup Chopped Cilantro
1/8 cup White Wine
1/2 a Lime, juiced
2 tbsp Coconut Milk
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1) Puree all of the ingredients in a food processor.


The simply grilled fish and the fresh mango puree compliment each other so well. It's one of those things that you feel good about eating, and it just tastes like summer. Its savory, sweet, and has a little kick. My ideal pairing? Have it with wild rice, a caprese salad, and a cold glass of dry white.

The grilled bass with mango puree is a great dish. If you ever want something that requires a little less attention, poaching any fish is the way to go. You just set it up and leave it be. You can even poach fish on the grill (which, ironically, is how I started my summer off). This recipe may seem a little cliche, but its always a crowd-pleaser and takes very little effort.

Poached Striped Bass

1 Striped Bass Fillet
1/2 Lemon, sliced into circles
1/4 cup fresh Dill (whole sprigs)
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
1/8 cup of White Wine (or water)
Tin Foil

Preheat oven to 350*f

1) Lay the fish out on a piece of tin foil that is 5" longer than your fillet.

2) Arrange lemon slices, dill, and garlic on top of the fish.

3) Squeeze the remaining juice in the end of the lemon on to the fish.

4) Take another piece of tin foil (same length) and lay it over the fish. Fold over two sides (make sure you fold it over a few times to prevent any leaking during the poaching process).

5) Pour the wine (or water) on to the fish and fold the remaining two sides to make a completely sealed pouch. Place the pouch on a baking sheet (in case it does leak).

6) Cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

The best part? You can't over cook it. An even better part? You can also just throw the pouch on the grill for the same results. That makes for one classy beach barbecue! Another super point: You can cook for your friends and you don't have to be standing over a grill or a stove the whole night, enjoy yourself!

This dish is great year-round, not to mention you can apply this poaching recipe to sword fish, salmon, and just about any other white fish. It is so good!

We had such a blast trying the different fish. In addition to the two recipes above, my mom roasted the Bluefish with bacon, and our friend, Tom Black, made the best fried fish and "hush-puppies" I've ever had. He has it down to a science!

There were lots of great sides, too. My mom made some baked clams, there was a Caprese Salad (compliments of Brenda), a refreshing salad with watermelon and feta cheese, and roasted potatoes. I think everyone had a great time. Brenda and her husband, Jim, were also kind enough to bring some Mudslide mix that brought all of us back to warm, salty nights on Block Island.

I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate one of my favorite seasons than by indulging in fresh fish, mudslides, salty air, and the heat of a grill. So, happy summer everyone! There are more recipes to come as I get back in to the groove. I hope you've all enjoyed the warm months, been thankful for the sunny days, and relish the remainder of season!

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