As an avid food lover, I’m slightly ashamed to admit that I had never tried to filet a whole fish at home. It’s not that I’m terrified at the prospect or don’t like handling fish, I just hadn’t gotten around to it. Until yesterday! I saw this lovely striped bass at the Asian market and decided I should give it a go!
Whole Striped Bass
Pinch of Salt
Lemon to Finish
Sweet Potato Hash
1/4 lb Thick Cut Bacon, cut into lardons
1 Sweet Potato, cubed
1/2 Cup Cured Chorizo, chopped(Fresh Chorizo or Pepperoni as an alternative)
1/2 Large Yellow Onion, diced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 tbsp Crushed Red Pepper
Salt and Pepper
Lets start by taking the fillets off the fish. Like I said, this was my first time, so don’t judge too harshly. I don’t have a fillet knife, but my 8″ Chef’s knife worked well enough. I watched a couple tutorials on YouTube, scaled the fish and went to town!
I lost the belly meat when I removed the lower bones, but I kept the meaty fillets in tact. I went back and removed the pin bones and broke down the fillets into smaller portions.
I scored the skin so the fillets would’t curl up when I cooked them.
I took the rest of the fish carcass and boiled it with water, lemongrass, ginger, onions, garlic, fennel and peppercorns to create a fish stock. I, then, moved on to prepping the sweet potato hash.
Here’s how I go about cubing the sweet potato.
Cut the potato into a rectangular box shape, and then into flat 1 inch planks.
Cut the planks into strips. You could make tasty fries at this point.
Cut the strips into cubes. My cubes are not a perfect brunoise by any stretch of the imagination, but they’ll work for this recipe.
Cut your thick cut bacon into small rectangular lardons, which will give your dish a bit of texture. Also prep your onions and garlic at this point.
Start by cooking your bacon and rendering off that delicious bacon fat, which you’ll cook the rest of your hash in.
Add the onions and sweet potatoes after the bacon has cooked for a few minutes and gotten a bit of color.
After the potatoes have cooked a few minutes, add the minced garlic, crushed red peppers and black pepper. Just a couple minutes before serving, I add the diced Chorizo for an extra kick! The completed hash reminds me of the fried potatoes and bacon I eat with shore lunch when fishing in Canada every year. Super tasty!
While the hash sizzles away, we’ll start cooking the fish.
I had a misstep here, because I wanted to get a crispy skin on the bass, but I started cooking it in a hot stainless steel pan instead of a non-stick. If I had gotten the pan hot enough and added enough oil, it may have worked, but I ended up losing most of the skin to the pan. Lesson learned!
I quickly cooked some Bok Choy in the fish pan, with some of the fish stock and lemon juice to finish the dish.
For this being my first attempt at whole Striped Bass, I think it turned out pretty well. The Bass was delicate, the Sweet Potato Hash was hearty and spicy and the lemony Bok Choy cut through the other flavors and kept me going back to the spicy hash.