On Saturday, after making the pie, and eating pancakes with the Boy Scouts from Troop 100, I went to the fish store to buy the striped bass. I do not have a lot of experience with cooking fish, so I was startled by the amount of blood and gore involved when one buys a whole fish. Thank God I said yes when the fish man asked me if he should clean it. It looked like Slaughter on Elm Street by the time he was finished.
The recipe called for not only a whole striped bass, but also a pound of shrimp, so there was Slaughter on Elm Street to my bank balance as well. They obligingly bagged up the carcass and the shrimp in ice and handed it to me. I didn't actually get to it until around 6:30 when I took out the shrimp and realized that it had to be peeled.
At that point, Son and his fiance came in, on their way to a Halloween party. I felt like saying, "Hey, pull up a chair and peel some shrimp." I desisted when I saw her in black with a 40s veil and long purple gloves and him in a Justin Beiber wig that made him look like he had a raccoon sitting on his head.
I was still cooking when our friends walked in the door.
This is a good recipe. Some observations. Get the fish boned too. I didn't. A larger fish does not require more stuffing, so don't get a pound and a half of shrimp for a six pound bass. If you can, get the shrimp peeled, or do it when you get home so you don't have to do it at 6:30. Also, make sure the fish is fully cooked.
Baked Striped Bass
1 four-pound striped bass
1/4 cup diced salt pork or butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 pound shrimp, shelled, deveined and roughly chopped
1/2 cup fine soft bread crumbs
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1. Clean the fish, but leave the head on. (The fish store didn't. If you dislike your dinner looking at you, take it off.)
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
3. Cook the salt pork, if used, in a skillet until the bits are crisp. Remove salt pork bits and reserve. Add the shallots to the drippings and cook until tender but not browned.
4. Add the mushrooms and shrimp and cook quickly until shrimp turn pink and mushrooms wilt, about five minutes. Add the breadcrumbs, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper and reserved pork bits. Stuff the fish with the mixture and secure with skewers or sew to close. (I didn't sew or skewer, and there was a lot of stuffing left over. I just left it in the pan.)
5. Place the fish in a greased baking dish. Brush with the melted butter, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle the lemon juice over all.
6. Bake about thirty-five minutes, or until fish flakes easily.
Makes four servings.