It fascinates me that time seems to pass so quickly. Here it is September already. We had such a late start to summer that one can only hope that it will stretch out into October or longer. The fishermen will still be out no matter what the weather is. I have an acquaintance at the harbor that loves to fish right after it rains. It seems he is able to catch very large stripers and bass out near middle ground in the Long Island Sound. Which brings me to our cooking theme this month. It’s prime time to catch blackfish, black sea and striped bass. Blackfish are an excellent tasting fish with firm, pure white meat. Its flesh is white, dry, and of a delicate sweet flavor. It is best when skinned and filleted. Its firm flesh makes it especially suitable for fish chowder. Black Sea Bass have lean, white flesh with a moderately firm texture, small flakes and a delicate flavor. Because of its small size, it is often prepared whole. Both of these fish can be baked, broiled or grilled. And then we have the Striped Bass. In my research I’ve found that these fish can live 40 years and weigh up to 100 pounds. Yikes. The meat of a striped bass is a happy medium between flaky and meaty. Its texture lies between cod or sole and swordfish or tuna. Its taste, like most fish, varies depending on where it was caught and what it was eating. In general, however, the taste is rich and flavorful. No matter what you feel like doing, batter frying, smoking, poaching in court bouillon, or any other method of cooking fish, the striped bass can handle it. So following is a simple recipe for each type above. I’m sure you can find many, many more. Blackfish Baked with Herb Butter Easy Recipe 1 lb. fresh Blackfish fillet 1/4 cup of butter 2 tbsp. of lemon juice 2 tbsp. of fresh chives, chopped (or 1 tbsp. dried) 2 tbsp. of fresh parsley, chopped 3 tbsp. of fresh dill, chopped (or 1 1/2 tsp. dried) Dash Cayenne pepper to taste (optional) Paprika Salt to taste Preheat oven to 400°F. Place fish in salt water and let it soak for 30 minutes. (Didn’t it just come from salt water?) Wash well, then rinse and pat dry with paper towels. In a small saucepan melt butter and stir in lemon juice, parsley, chives, dill and cayenne and salt if desired. Cut fillets into serving size pieces and place it in a lightly oiled baking dish. Pour butter and herb mixture over fillets. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake uncovered for about 8 to 10 minutes or until fish begins to flake. Transfer fish to a warm serving platter. Boil pan juices until reduced to about 1/4 cup and pour over warm fish. Serves 4. Easy Grilled Sea Bass 1/4 tsp. of garlic powder 1/4 tsp. of onion powder 1/4 tsp. of paprika Lemon pepper and sea salt to taste 2 pounds sea bass 3 tb. of butter 2 large cloves garlic, chopped 1 tb. of chopped Italian flat leaf parsley 1 1/2 tb. extra virgin olive oil Preheat grill for high heat. In a small bowl, stir together the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, lemon pepper and sea salt. Sprinkle seasonings onto the fish. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter with the garlic and parsley. Remove from heat when the butter has melted, and set aside. Lightly oil grill grate. Grill fish for 7 minutes, then turn and drizzle with butter. Continue cooking for 7 minutes, or until easily flaked with a fork. Drizzle with olive oil before serving. Serves 4. Grilled Mustard and Miso Sea Bass 4 sea bass fillets, about 5-6 ounces 6 green onions, trimmed 1/3 cup of white miso 3 tb. of rice vinegar 2 tb. of mirin or Japanese rice wine
2 tb. of toasted sesame seeds 1 tb. of sugar 2 tsp. of water 1 clove garlic, minced 1 tsp. each of Dijon mustard and soy sauce Olive oil Salt & pepper to taste In small bowl, combine the water and Dijon mustard until thoroughly mixed. Place miso, mustard mixture, vinegar, mirin or rice wine, soy sauce, garlic and sugar in small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until smooth for about 3-5 minutes. Reduce heat if necessary. Remove pan from heat. Preheat grill for medium high heat. Right before placing sea bass on grill, make sure to oil the grates well. Brush fish and green onions with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place fish on grill and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side until sea bass reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. Add green onions to grill and cook for 2-3 minutes per side. Once cooked, remove both from grill. Reheat the sauce. Top the fish with the miso sauce and sesame seeds. Serve with the green onions. Serves 4. Enjoy these final days of summer!