Saturday, April 6, 2013

If you give a girl a fish . . .

 Seared striped bass
striped bass pooling after bait fish

Cut the fish into four 6 oz. portions. Make sure all scales are removed from skin. Pat the skin dry with a paper towel and season the fish on both sides with coarse salt.

Heat a large sauté pan coated generously with extra virgin olive oil over high heat. Grape seed oil will work as well.

Coat the bottom of another slightly smaller sauté pan with olive oil. This is to keep the fish from sticking. Gently place the fish fillets skin side down in the sauté pan and place the other sauté pan directly on top of the fish. This presses the skin of the bass onto the bottom of the sauté pan and will allow the skin to crisp.

After 3 minutes remove the top pan from the fish so that steam can escape. As the bass cooks it will turn from translucent to opaque. Cook the fish approximately 2/3's of the way on the skin side (watch as the fish changes in translucency from the skin up) and flip it over for the last 1/3 of the cooking time.

The rule for fish is about 7 to 8 minutes per inch of thickness, a little less if you like your fish more on the rare side, but bass is an extremely dense fish, and may take longer to cook than lighter fishes.

This bass needs nothing else if it is Cuttyhunk fresh striper. A grind of the pepper shaper, and if you want to be decadent, a slight drizzle of a good balsamic vinegar. Not too much, or your lovely crispy skin will wilt.
i did not catch this

The first time I went striped bass fishing was seven years ago.  Now, some of you are probably doing the math in your head.  That’s right; I never went bass fishing the entire fifteen years I lived on the island. 

It’s not that the fishing guides weren’t generous about taking us out if they had no clients, I could’ve gone any number of times each summer.  Except for one small problem.  I get seasick.  Really seasick, especially in the boat that’s bobbing up and down on the waves while anchored. 

While this fact stopped me from actually fishing, it never stopped me from talking about fishing as if I knew something about the sport.  I felt as if I had been fishing for years, just from the countless morningsI spent listening to George, Joe, and Roland talk about fishing while they sat on the other side of the counter at 6 AM waiting for their eggs.  I knew so much about the sport of striped bass fishing from listing to the guides all those years I felt I was qualified to write articles about the subject of striper fishing off the island of Cuttyhunk. 
bass plugs

Okay, it sounds a bit crazy now, and were I to undertake such a project today I might consider doing a bit of research.  But it seemed like a good idea at the time.  And in fact, I did place three articles in Trophy Striper magazine in the summer of 1991.  I traded each article fee, which was three hundred dollars, for advertising space next to the article.  

And it’s not like the guys didn’t actually say those things I quoted them as saying.  I’m sure they did, at some point, during some summer while I was cooking breakfast.  Just maybe not to me, and not in an interview format. 

But hey, those articles and the ads next to them brought in a fair amount of business.  And that’s what it’s all about.
bass plug we found on barges beach last summer