The stripers are running
I grew up spending my summers on Block Island, surrounded by avid fishermen, who treated striper fishing like a science. My dad, a principal marine biologist, most definitely found his love of fishing here as a boy, hiking the beaches before dawn or after dusk in search of the elusive ‘cow.’ He and my uncle would discuss which beach made sense given the conditions. Which way was the wind blowing? Southwest Point at low tide with an onshore Southwest wind or Black Rock at high tide in an east wind were good bets. And it worked. In November of 1984, my father landed a 62-pound cow striper at Black Rock.
I take the striper bounty and make creating new recipes with the fresh filets my science. Striped bass has a meaty, firm, but almost silky texture and mild flavor. It is not overly delicate which makes it really fabulous to pair with bold flavors. A lot of my culinary inspiration comes from years of global travel, much of it in Southeast Asia, and this striper dish is inspired by the flavors I found there. Make sure to have some crusty bread on hand to soak up all of the luscious, slightly spicy curry sauce.
COCONUT CURRY STRIPED BASS
-1/4 cup coconut oil
-2 striped bass filets, about 2 to 2.5 pounds, skinned (or other white fish like haddock, halibut, or cod)
-1 1/2 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. black pepper
1 large onion, chopped
-8 garlic cloves, chopped
-1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
-3 large carrots, peeled and julienned
-1 red bell pepper, julienned
-2 tsp. curry powder
-1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
-1 cup seafood or chicken stock
-One 13.5 oz. can coconut milk (unsweetened)
-1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade (plus more for garnish)
-4 cups white rice
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Heat the coconut oil in a large cast iron or oven proof skillet over medium high heat.
Season the fish with 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper on both sides. Place in the hot pan and sear on each side for 2 to 3 minutes until golden. Remove from pan and set aside. The fish will not be cooked through, but will finish cooking in the sauce later.
Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeno to the pan drippings and cook, stirring occasionally until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the carrots to the pan and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes until carrots start to get tender. Add the red peppers, curry powder, pepper flakes, and chicken stock to the pan. Bring to a boil and cook for 4 to 5 minutes letting the stock reduce. Stir in coconut milk and basil and cook for 2 minutes until smooth and creamy.
Nestle the fish back into the pan, covering with the sauce and some of the carrots and peppers. Cover and place in the oven. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork. This timing can vary slightly depending on the thickness of the fish.
Serve hot over rice and garnish with more basil.