Recipe for Striped Bass
A day out angling in the Chesapeake, the kind of phone call you have always wanted to get
While passing through DC recently for business, I get a phone call from an old Army buddy who wanted to know if I was interested in going angling in the Chesapeake for striped bass or rockfish. It was the kind of phone call you always want to get, but let’s face it, how often does that really happen?
Early on a Saturday with the last few of those precious sunny, clear, t-shirt days left in the fall we set out on a charter fishing trip for stripped bass or rockfish. Not being from the Chesapeake area, I have to say that I never ate this fish before—but you know what they say about the worst day fishing . . .
As it turns out the fish is a firm white meat that cooks up tender and delicious—definitely worth the early wake up and Dramamine®. Now down to the serious business of eating the catch. First is the Filleting process which is deftly handled here in this video by first mate Steve (who shockingly only works for tips).
For the next part, I called the one expert I know on how to cook these beautiful fish, my Mommy-in-law. Normally recipes in the Midwest list “half an egg shell” as a legitimate unit of measurement—no, I am not kidding you on that. Below are the tried and true steps to genuine Midwest cuisine (using approximations for measurements):
Four fillets of striped bass or rockfish
2 cups corn meal
Half cup of whole milk (raw milk is best where ever it may still be legal)
1 Tablespoon of Old Bay® seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup of lard in a cast iron skillet
Melt the lard in the cast iron skillet, other industrial seed oils may work as well here, I cannot say since we do not use them
Beat eggs and milk together, set aside
If you are making your own corn meal with a grain mill (gold foilie star for you) then start there, if using bagged meal (recommend stone ground corn meal) add 2 cups to a flat baking dish
Stir salt, pepper and Old Bay® into corn meal to create a breading mixture
Rinse off any blood from fillets and pat fillets dry with a paper towel
Dip fillets (TIp: I found that half fillets were more manageable than whole fillets) into egg then into corn meal.
Optional: for that real Midwest breading, double dip the fillet back into the egg and then the corn meal
Place fillet in hot grease, cook until brown, then flip (add grease if needed)
Place fillet on paper towel in a dish
Serve with favorite sides
That is it. This is a time tested recipe, and I am sure that there are more complicated variants, but by applying Occam’s Razor I am to the table enjoying my catch quickly. Let me know if you get to try this delicacy, just leave a comment below.
Pro Deo et Patria
Nothing in this blog constitutes medical advice. You should consult your own physician before making any dietary changes. Statements in this blog may or may not be congruent with current USDA or FDA guidance.
All Photos by Pantry Paratus