STORIES THE VIEW UPSTREAM By: Keith ''Catfish'' Sutton 6 Lip-Smacking Good Recipes for Striped Bass Whether you are looking for an appetizer or an entrée, these 6 unique recipes offer simple methods to prepare your striped bass Striped bass can have an off flavor when prepared and cooked improperly, but recipes like this striper crabmeat make the most of these good-eating fish. (Photo courtesy of Keith ''Catfish'' Sutton) Many people are under the mistaken impression that striped bass don’t make good table fare. Not so. If the fish are iced down after being caught, and all dark red flesh is removed from the meat when the fish are cleaned, the resulting fillets or steaks can be fried, baked, broiled, grilled or otherwise prepared to make a variety of delectable dishes. Stripers also can be scaled and prepared whole. This makes for a dramatic presentation when you really want to impress your dinner guests. For all but whole fish, the key to good flavor is using a very sharp knife (a fillet knife works well) and taking time to carefully remove the reddish bands of flesh along the lateral line and elsewhere. When done properly, you’ll be left with fish that has a nice pinkish color with no dark streaks. You can freeze it for later use, but for the utmost in tastiness, cook it fresh the day it was caught. One of my favorite striper recipes, Striper Crabmeat, was shared by Arkansas fishing guide Jerry Blake. He often prepared it at the dock after helping clients catch limits of fish, and all who tried it said it tastes remarkably like crabmeat. I agree. Blake starts with some Louisiana Crawfish, Crab & Shrimp Boil, a mixture of dry spices that will season the fish. The spices are mixed into a large pot of water according to package directions, then the water is brought to a boil. If you like, drop in some corn on the cob and new red potatoes and cook until done. The heat is then turned off, the striper fillets are added to the pot (a wire basket makes their removal easier), and the fish is allowed to cook for 20 minutes or so until the pieces can be flaked easily with a fork. “All you need now,” says Blake, “is some hot melted butter to dip the fish in, and you’re got yourself a great meal that tastes even better than real crab.” For more conventional yet equally delicious methods of preparation, try the recipes that follow. From appetizers to entrées, they provide a wide range of simple methods for cooking your catch. Bon appétit! Lemon-Paprika Striper Steaks Recipe Serves: 4-6 Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 25-30 minutes Ingredients: 2 pounds striped bass steaks 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice 1 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons paprika ½ teaspoon black pepper Directions: 1. Place the striper steaks in a single layer in a well-greased baking dish. Combine the remaining ingredients, and pour over the fish. 2. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve hot and enjoy. Striper with Oyster Stuffing Recipe Serves: 6-8 Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes Striped Bass Ingredients: 1 striped bass, 8 to 10 pounds, scales removed and filleted with the skin left on ¼ cup melted butter Salt and pepper Oyster Stuffing Ingredients: 1 cup oysters, chopped 3 cups stale bread cubes 2 teaspoons salt ⅛ teaspoon pepper ⅛ teaspoon sage 3 tablespoons butter 1 onion, minced 2 tablespoons minced parsley ½ cup minced celery Directions: 1. To prepare the stuffing, sauté oysters in a skillet for five minutes and drain. Combine bread cubes, salt, pepper, sage and oysters. Melt butter in a skillet; and add onion, parsley and celery. Sauté until tender. Add to bread mixture and blend. 2. Place one fillet, skin side down, in the center of a greased sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Spread with oyster stuffing. Place the other fillet, skin side up, on top of the stuffing. Fasten both sides with skewers. Brush with melted butter and season with salt and pepper. 3. Bring the foil up over the fish and fold to seal. Place on a baking sheet and bake 1 hour in a preheated 400-degree oven. Open the foil, push down around fish and brush the striper with melted butter. Return to oven for an additional 30 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Baste occasionally with butter. Serve and enjoy. Baked Striper With Mornay Sauce Recipe Serves: 4-6 Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 25-30 minutes Ingredients: 2 to 3 pounds striped bass fillets Salt and fresh-ground black pepper 1 tablespoon chopped shallots 2 tablespoons butter or margarine 2 cups crabmeat 4 strips pimiento 6 capers Mornay Sauce Ingredients: 2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons flour 1 cup light cream ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon white pepper ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese Directions: 1. To prepare the Mornay sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan. Blend in flour until smooth. Add cream and cook, stirring constantly until thickened. Season with salt and white pepper. Add Parmesan cheese and stir. Set aside for later use. 2. To prepare the striped bass, season the fillets with salt and pepper. 3. Cook shallots in butter until tender, and arrange in the bottom of a buttered baking dish with the crab meat. Lay the fillets over the crab and shallots, and cover with Mornay sauce. 4. Lay pimento strips crisscross over the fish, and place rinsed capers on the open spaces. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until fish flakes easily when flaked with a fork. Striper Dip Recipe Yield: 4 cups Total time: 10 minutes Ingredients: 2 cups leftover cooked striped bass ½ pound Velveeta cheese, cubed ¼ cup chopped green pepper ¼ cup chopped onion 2 tablespoons chopped pimento 1 tablespoon mayonnaise or salad dressing Directions: 1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. 2. Transfer striper dip to a serving dish and garnish with chopped parsley or chives. Serve with chips, crackers or fresh raw vegetables. Grilled Striper Recipe Serves: 3-5 Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes Ingredients: One striper fillet, about 1 ½ pounds cut 1-inch thick 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 clove garlic, minced Lemon-pepper spice to taste Directions: 1. Rub the fillet with olive oil, then sprinkle all over with garlic and lemon-pepper. 2. Place on a hot grill and allow to cook until the meat starts to get flaky. Run a metal spatula under the fish every couple of minutes to be sure it doesn’t stick. When done, the fish will have lost its translucence and a thin-bladed knife will pass through it fairly easily. Serve and enjoy.