So Debbie at the bait shop with the deeply lined skin was right. "Strippers are really biting today, just use these huge clams as bait and Ill guarantee you ll catch one!!" Maybe today would be our day, after two summers of catching nothing but rocks and the occasional crab this promise got our interest. We immediately grabbed six very large clams, (at Debbie's discount price of two for a buck I might add) and began envisioning our delicious stripped bass dinner. As we were leaving the shop Debbie took a few rubber bands off her wrist. " Here...take these, helps keep the clam on your hook.." We were psyched, this was going to be the day we finally pulled in the big one. Off we went to our favorite fishing jetty with high hopes that seared stripped bass would be on the dinner menu. What I love about this particular fish is that it needs such simple preparation as its flavor is so divine.
The jetty was crowded with lots of fishermen sipping their Budweiser's, it was just passed 9 in the morning. Although they appeared much more experienced, what they didn't have was Debbie's lucky rubber bands or guarantee that this was gonna be our day. OK are you ready for this part of the story, I can't make this stuff up. In less than 10 minutes we felt a pull. The rod started to bend, the fishermen put their Budweiser's down and started yelling "you got a monster on the line!!!!"As we tried to pull it in, the reel snapped off. No problem, everyone wanted to help pull this one in. Out of the water came the largest stripped bass Ive ever seen. Until you get high five ed by a bunch of strangers as you proudly unhook your catch you really don't understand the joy of fishing. Today I present you with simply prepared stripped bass, not sure whats better the story or the seared fish.
- 4 4 to 5 oz Stripped Bass Fillets
- Kosher salt and ground pepper
- Olive oil
- 2 Tb butter
- 1 lemon
I feel silly explaining this dish as it really is that easy. If your not familiar with searing I have a few little tips that make a big difference. Dry the fillets well, this will allow them to sear instead of steam. Season both sides of the fish with salt and pepper. Heat a large non stick pan(the non stick seems to keep the fish more intact) , drizzle generously with olive oil. Place fillets skin side down, keep in mind it takes about 7 to 8 minutes to cook fish that is one inch thick. My fillets did not have skin as SOMEONE didn't know how delicious the crispy skin is. So if you happen to only find skinless fillets it will still be wonderful. After about 3 minutes peek underneath, it should be lightly browned. If browned, gently flip over. At this point I added the butter. In about 4 to 5 minutes the other side should be nicely browned. Once the fish is opaque just add a quick squeeze of lemon. Now my friends the most delicious dinner awaits you. I served it with wild rice (which expired a year ago..shhh no one complained) and snow peas.