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Seared Striped Bass Steaks

Seared Striped Bass Steakss
  

I picked up a 1-3/4 pound (before cleaning) striped bass at  Harbor Fish the other day (farm-raised since it's not legal in Maine to sell wild-caught stripers these days), thinking that I would prepare it in the traditional Chinese manner: steamed whole, with ginger and black bean sauce. But when I got to the kitchen to do the cooking I felt like doing something different with the fish, since it seems we had a Chinese whole fish not long ago...

I ended up cutting it crosswise into four thick little steaks, which I seared and served on a puddle of sauce made from a broth I made with the head, tail and trimmings from the fish. Simple, quick and very, very good. This was served with a roasted medley of sweet new vegetables from my weekly farm share and a steaming stack of the first native sweet corn of the season. I've said it before...but ahh, Maine: the way life should be!

Seared Striped Bass Steaks

1 whole striped bass, about 1-3/4 lb (ask to have it cleaned and scaled)
1 lemon
1/2 medium onion, sliced
2 leek top segments, about 4" long, washed
1 clove garlic, crushed
1-1/2 cup white wine
fish sauce, hot sauce, to taste
4 long scallion tops (optional)
3 T butter
3 T flour
2 T heavy cream

Cut the head and tail from the fish and place in a small pot with half the lemon, the onion, the leek top segments, the garlic, water to cover and the wine. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a vigorous simmer. After half an hour or more, strain out and discard the solids, return the liquid to the pot and turn the heat to high to reduce to about 1-1/2 cups.

While the broth is simmering, cut the fish body crosswise into 4 little steaks -- they should be around an inch and a quarter thick. Trim away the belly flaps with kitchen shears and toss them into the stockpot. With pliers, pull out any obvious bones along the belly sides. If desired, tie the steaks with the scallion tops. Dry the steaks completely with paper towels.

When the broth has reduced, keep it warm. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and let it foam without burning for a couple of minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring, until the foaming subsides. Do not let the mixture start to color. Whisk in the warm broth and cook a couple of minutes, stirring, while the sauce thickens slightly. Stir in the cream. Squeeze in some lemon juice, to taste, then season to taste with fish sauce and hot sauce.

Place a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy sauté pan and heat until the oil is very hot but not yet smoking. Salt the fish and then sear the steaks about 2-1/2 minutes on a side. To serve, pour a puddle of the sauce on a plate and place the fish in the puddle. Garnish with minced parsley or chives if desired.

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Comments

Your seafood posts are a source of much inspiration. Looking forward to seeing some Chinese-style dishes. I'm sure your take on steamed fish with black bean and ginger that you mentioned is another winner.

Seared striper: If you want the wild stuff come to RI. They sell it here. Fillets are now $9.99/lb. Find a good fisherman and anything over 28" might be a trade for one of your AWESOME recipes.

Thanks for that information, Joe, and the nice comment...I should have said that in some states commercial sale of stripers is prohibited. Those states are currently: New Jersey, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York, Maine and the District of Columbia. In most other Atlantic coast states there are per-trip and annual total catch quotas in place, so availability of striped bass in the fish markets can be spotty.

That looks and sounds fantastic. At first I thought it was a picture of scallops and was surprise to find it was fish. Beautiful presentation!

Looks really good! I like stripped bass!

Paz

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