June 2017
Your Next Meal From the Wildside

Keep it Simple With Striped Bass

Just one of these monsters can be enough for the whole family.

 

Rolley Len with the 11-pound striped bass she caught.

Both of my children love going to Lake Martin. It doesn’t really matter if it is the middle of summer and the water is high or if it is before the water is released in the spring. But they know, once the water level rises, the ritual of overnight fishing will begin again. 

My daughter Rolley Len is always ready to go to the cabin, and she never wants to miss out on a trip to the lake. She especially likes to go with Jason and his dad, her Pop-Pop, when they put limb lines out overnight. Spending lots of time on the water with them over the years means Rolley Len has consistently learned more and more about the art of fishing. She is also very observant and pays attention to all the details. 

One Sunday, she returned home from fishing with Jason and I asked how her trip was. Instead of just giving me a quick summary, she began giving me a step-by-step account of her adventure.

"First we had to get everything ready and loaded," she said. "Then we went on a boat ride to the bank where we tied the lines for the fish.

"We set all of our lines out, but you have to leave everything for several hours at least. So we went back to the cabin for a while. If the fish don’t bite within about two hours or if it’s raining, then you just have to wait and go back in the morning to check the lines again." 

Checking the lines late at night or as early as you can wake up may not sound like much fun to some kids but Rolley Len doesn’t mind putting in the time. She definitely enjoys the end result: fresh-caught fish at her next meal. And she actually makes it sound easy.

"Get your fish, take ‘em home and clean ‘em up. Delicious!" 

They usually bring home a mess of catfish to batter and fry, but, on this outing, Rolley Len had an 11-pound striped bass. In the photograph, it looks almost as big as she is, but it was probably not even at its full adult weight yet. Striped bass can be 15-20 pounds. 

This one was big enough to feed all four of us with some left over. Stripe holds up well whether it is pan-fried, baked, seared or grilled. Jason cooked this one on a gas grill with some Old Bay and lemon juice. Serving it with rice and corn on the cob made a very economical dinner with little effort. 

There are lots of ingredient combinations that work well with striped bass, but most recipes I have found keep it simple with just a few flavors blended together. Here are a few delicious combinations for you to try this summer.

 

GRILLED STRIPE

 

Grilled Stripe

1 whole striped bass, filleted
Extra-virgin olive oil
Old Bay Seasoning
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Cooking oil spray

Preheat grill. Slice fillets into pieces about 6 inches long. (They will be easier to handle without breaking apart when turned.) Rub fillets with EV olive oil. Season them with Old Bay Seasoning, black pepper and salt. Spray hot grill with nonstick cooking spray. Let it burn off. Grill fish on medium-low heat for about 4 minutes per side. Fish will flake with a fork.


LEMON GARLIC GRILLED STRIPE

2 pounds striped bass, filleted
1 stick butter
1 Tablespoon garlic, chopped (or more to taste)
1 lemon (juice and zest)
Salt
Ground black pepper 

Preheat grill. Rinse fish fillets and pat dry with a paper towel. Put fillets in refrigerator until ready to grill. In a skillet over low heat, melt butter. Add garlic. Juice lemon into pan. In small bowl, combine lemon zest and pepper, to taste. Stir lemon mixture into garlic mixture. Let simmer for about 5 minutes.

Lay out a sheet of aluminum foil big enough to hold fillets on a baking sheet (makes it easier to transport fish from kitchen to grill). Place fish skin side down on foil. Use a spoon to pour butter mixture over fish. Sprinkle salt on each fillet. Close foil to prevent leakage.

Place foiled fish on grill. Poke 5-6 holes in foil. Cover grill and cook until the fish is firm and flakes with a fork. Fish needs to cook for 10-20 minutes. Cooking time will depend on size of fillets. Do not flip fish as it cooks.

Remove fish from grill and foil; serve.

 

POACHED STRIPE

½ cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 or 3 small onions or 1 large onion, peeled and sliced
1 dried or fresh chili pepper, optional
½-¾ cup water
About 1½ pounds striped bass fillet, about 1-inch thick

In a skillet just large enough to hold fish, combine soy sauce, sugar, onions, pepper and water. Turn heat to medium high. Bring to a boil.

Add fish and adjust heat so mixture bubbles, but is not boiling. Cook 8-10 minutes, turning once or twice, until fish is coated with a brown glaze and cooked through. Serve with white rice, spooning sauce over fish and rice.

Note: For variations of these striped bass recipes, try adding or exchanging these ingredients: Lime juice, orange or lemon juice/zest, minced garlic, diced onion or ginger.

 

Christy Kirk is a freelance writer who lives in Little Texas.