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Striped Bass over Tomato Scampi

INGREDIENTS
2 TBSP olive oil
4 striped bass fillets
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 bunch thyme sprigs
3 TBSP Roasted Garlic Oil
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely diced
1 TBSP fennel seeds, toasted in a dry skillet
4 celery ribs, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 TBSP chopped capers, drained
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 TBSP red wine vinegar
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 lbs. mixed heirloom tomatoes, cut in wedges
1 cup tightly packed hand-torn fresh basil leaves

DIRECTIONS
Prepare roasted garlic oil by preheating oven to 300-degrees.
Put the garlic heads cut side down in a small casserole or ovenproof pot and pour the olive oil over them.
Remove garlic from the oil and set aside.
Strain the oil into a bowl and let cool, then pour into an airtight container.
Increase oven temperature to 350-degrees
In a large ovenproof nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
Season the fish liberally with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the lemon zest and juice.
Once the oil begins to shimmer, place the fillets skin-side-down in the pan and let them cook, without moving them, until the skin is crisp and golden brown, about 45 seconds to 1 minute.
Give a light push to the fillets to loosen the skin from the pan.
Add the thyme sprigs to the pan.
Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the fish flakes easily with a fork, 6 to 8 minutes.
Remove fish from the oven and transfer to paper towels.
To prepare the scampi, in a large skillet, heat the garlic oil over medium-high heat.
Add the garlic, shallots and fennel seeds and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots are translucent, about 2 minutes.
Add the celery and capers and cook until the celery has softened, about 2 minutes.
Add the wine to the pan and cook until it is reduced by half, about 1 minute.
Add the vinegar, lemon zest and juice, tomatoes, and basil and cook for 1 to 2 minutes to incorporate the flavors and heat the tomatoes through.
Serve the bass fillets topped with the tomato scampi.
Serves 4.


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