The best time of year is upon us. The big striped bass have finally made their way up the coast and are here to stay, which means fresh fish for dinner.
When it comes to cooking fish, I find that it always does best with simple and fresh ingredients.
The canal lately has been on fire and I was fortunate enough to have some great luck while fishing with my great friends Trevin and Jeremy.
We hit the canal at sunrise and there were huge schools of mackerel running in close and it was only a matter of time until the big fish moved in.
Jeremy and I both managed to pull up some decent sized keepers and seeing as my freezer was running low on fish from the winter, I decided that I would keep my fish.
Preparing the Fish
I often run into people that say they have either had a bad experience eating striped bass or have no idea what to do with it, but when it is prepped and cooked properly, it is one of my all time favorite fish to eat!
It is important when you do keep the fish to treat it as best you can by bleeding it out and getting it on ice. Bleeding a striped bass will make a huge difference in taste. I would suggest cutting the throat and gill plate after the catch and letting the fish bleed in the salt water.
After taking enough meat to have a dinner, I get the rest of the fillets ready for the freezer.
When keeping any fish I would suggest using a vacuum sealer before freezing. It is okay to use normal freezing bags with striped bass but other fish, such as bluefish, you often have a more difficult time keeping in normal bags. I usually share dinner with my girlfriend Brittany, so I portion my fish for two in my freezer bags.
For this dish you will need:
1 5oz fillet of striped bass
2 tablespoons of Old Bay seasoning
Salt and Pepper to your preference
1 sprig of thyme
1 sheet of aluminum foil
1 bunch of flat leafed parsley
Season the fillets with sea salt, cracked black pepper, and old bay seasoning on both sides. Take a sheet of tin foil large enough to fold up over the fillets and place the fillet in the center of the foil.
Cut up a lemon into decent sized slices and place on top of the bass. Top the lemons with some fresh thyme and roll fold the foil up, covering the fillets. Make sure you leave a little room because the juice from the lemons will start to steam in the foil, helping cook the fish as well as keeping it moist.
Light up the grill to medium heat and add the fish in the foil to the grill. It should only take about 15 to 20 minutes for the fish to become cooked and flakey, depending on your grill.
To check, just open the foil up carefully, because there will be a fair amount of steam coming from the foil pouch and you don’t want to burn yourself. If the fish is firm to the touch and is a solid white you know that it is done.
Remove the cooked thyme and lemon wedges and top with fresh parsley and the juice from a few lemon wedges. I find that adding fresh herbs to a cooked dish really helps balance out the flavors of the meal and most importantly, share it with people that you love.
A great beer is always an added bonus (I suggest a citrusy IPA) with this meal if you are planning on having one. I am drinking a Treehouse Tornado in this photo.
The Perfect Side Dish
When I am grilling fresh fish, I also like to use fresh vegetables to pair it with. For this dish I decided to skewer a mix of portabella mushrooms. tomatoes, peppers, onions, and zucchini and grill them next to the bass.
If you don’t like this combination, substitute what you don’t like for what you do. Just make sure you soak the skewers if they’re made from wood so that they don’t burn on the grill.
Add salt, pepper, and olive oil to the veggies, mix them up, and then skewer them as you would like., placing them on the grill with the fish.
I hope you all enjoy this easy striped bass recipe, and please let me know in the comments some of your favorite ways to cook striped bass.
Shane is the director/editor of My Fishing Cape Cod TV which airs Saturdays @ 9:30am Jan-March on NBC SportsBOSTON. Shane enjoys all types of fishing, from plugging the canal for stripers, to casting spoons for trout.