Grilled Striped Bass with Lemon Butter Sauce
One of the more pleasant side benefits of living near the beach is that every once in a while you can pull your dinner from the sea. The other morning my friend Bill and I trudged down the beach at dawn with surf rods, chunks of frozen mackerel and lightweight lawn chairs. Three hours later we trudged back with the additional burden of a nice 3 -1/2 lb striped bass in our bucket.
Striped bass, caught from the beach or a boat, is one of a dwindling list of wild foods we can bring fresh to our table, and therefore justifies a 3-hour expedition for its capture. Virtually all our meat and poultry is produced as an industrial product, only dimly related to its free-range ancestry, and thousands of years removed from the wild version. Seafood too is increasingly farm-raised (fed on pellets with color additives so that the product will somewhat resemble the wild version) and a large part of the wild catch is transported thousands of miles to market, so the combination of fresh and wild is becoming quite precious.
1 3-1/2 lb striped bass, preferably caught within the last few hours
1-1/2 cups aromatics: tarragon, oregano, garlic, onion, shallots, celery leaves, etc., minced
6 slices lemon
juice of 1 lemon
1 stick butter
1/4 C parsley, minced
1/2 C dry white wine
3 T minced shallots
3 T minced scallions
salt and pepper
vegetable oil spray
salt, pepper, hot sauce
Wash, clean and scale the fish. Rub the cavity with salt and pepper and stuff with the lemon slices and aromatics. Tie the fish with butchers' twine.
See Grill Basics for equipment and procedures.
Pat the fish dry and spray with cooking oil. Spray a fish frame with cooking oil. Grill about 8 - 10 minutes on a side 6 - 8 inches above a medium hot charcoal and hardwood fire.
Allow the fish to rest for a few minutes before attempting to remove it from the frame.
To make sauce, mix the wine, shallots, scallions and lemon juice and reduce by half over medium heat, stirring occasionally. On low heat, whisk in the butter one tablespoonful at a time. Strain and add the parsley. Season with a dash of hot sauce if desired.
Remove the fish from the frame. Remove the twine and aromatics and place fish on a platter. Carefully remove the skin from the exposed surface of the fish and pour the sauce over it.
Serve with Grilled Corn and Red Pepper Salad and a crusty baguette.
Serves 4 - 6, depending on sides.