Ingredients

Striped bass and other american bass

Wild striped bass and hybrid

Other Names: Striped bass: Bar d’Amérique (French); felsenbarsch (German); greenhead; linesider; lubina americana (Spanish); persico striata (Italian); rockfish; roller; squidhound; striper; sunshine bass; suzuki (Japanese). Moronidae (striped and white bass); Centrarchidae (large- and smallmouth bass).

General Description: Striped bass (Morone saxatilis_) is a large fish that gets its name from the dark horizontal stripes along its silvery sides. They have been one of America’s most prized fish since colonial times, because of their striking appearance and succulent, firm, white flesh. They are legendary among sport fishermen for their fighting ability. Seventy percent of the stock is born in the Chesapeake Bay, but overfishing has led to smaller catches and smaller fish. The smaller white bass (_M. americana), also known as white perch, are freshwater fish related to the striped bass closely enough that they are cross-bred to create the hybrid striped bass.

White perch

There are several species of freshwater black bass, the most popular sport fish in America. The most important are the largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides_), weighing up to 15 pounds, and the smallmouth bass (_M. dolomieui), weighing about 2 pounds. Both can make for good eating but have a distinctive flavor not pleasing to all.

Locale and Season: Striped bass range from Canada to Florida and from Louisiana to the Atlantic. There was a complete moratorium on striped bass from 1985 to 1989 in
Maryland and Delaware and from 1989 to 1990 in Virginia. Today, in the interest of conservation, striped bass may be fished only at specified times in limited quantities from each state. They are also farm-raised. White bass are native to the United States west of the Appalachians. Hybrid striped bass are all farm-raised, mainly in the western states. Large- and smallmouth bass live in lakes and ponds in the American East, Southeast, and Midwest.

Characteristics: Striped bass weigh about 10 pounds. They have light-colored, delicate but satisfying flavor, and firm, succulent flesh with a large flake. White bass tend to
be oily, and larger fish are muddy-tasting. Hybrid striped bass weigh 1 to 2 pounds with delicate, rather innocuous flavor and moderately firm flesh. Large- and smallmouth bass sometimes have a muddy taste that can be diminished by filleting and skinning.

How to Choose: Wild striped bass (which will have a blue plastic tag attached) are long and narrow and have straight,
uninterrupted stripes; hybrids are smaller and more rounded with broken stripes. There are many health advisories cautioning people with compromised immune systems against eating wild striped bass due to PCBs, mercury, and pesticides, problems that are more significant in larger fish.

Storage: Refrigerate up to 2 days on ice.

Preparation:

1. Scale hybrid or striped bass and thoroughly clean out
the body cavity and gills through a slit along the belly. Rinse out with cold water and pat dry all over.

2. Broil, grill, poach, sauté, or bake fillets or steaks;
poach whole striped bass, stuffed or plain.

Suggested Recipe: Stuffed Bass with Cranberries (serves 4): Season a medium-sized striped or hybrid-striped bass (2 to 3 pounds) inside and out with salt, pepper, paprika, and ground celery seed. Combine 2 peeled and diced apples, 1/2 cup diced onion, 1 cup whole cranberries, 2 teaspoons chopped celery, and 1 cup mostly cooked rice. Stuff the fish, then sew or skewer closed. Place in an oiled baking dish and brush with 1/4 cup melted butter mixed with the juice and zest of 1 lemon. Bake 30 to 40 minutes at 350°F, or until the flesh flakes.

Flavor Affinities: Apple, artichoke, avocado, basil, chervil, chives, corn, cured olives, dill, fennel, lemon, onion, orange, paprika, tarragon, thyme, tomato, white vermouth, white wine.

from Quirk Books: www.quirkbooks.com