My friend Steve Jaskolka is an avid fisherman and he likes nothing better than to spend evenings fishing for striper off the piers at Prescott Park in Portsmouth, NH and also across the Piscataqua River in Kittery, ME. He is quite successful and I have been the pleased recipient of many fine stripers. I say, "you catch ‘em, I’ll cook ‘em!"
Cleaning fish was never one of my favorite chores, in fact I dislike it entirely, so early on I tried to figure out a way to process the striper that would reduce my work yet lead to a tasty treat. I got lucky. I figured out that I could gut the things, remove the head and tail, spread them open and cut the small bones down one side of the spine but not penetrating the skin, resulting in a kind of butterflied fish. What I didn’t have to do was scale or filet the fish/remove the skin or fins. That really appealed to my lazy side!
But how would one cook such a strange thing? The answer was to put some aluminum foil on a broiling pan and the fish on the aluminum foil, skin side down. Then I coated the fish flesh with butter and broiled it for the minimum time, based on weight/thickness.
The result was a delicious fish that resembled crab in mildness and sweetness and it was very tender and moist. The best part was/is that removing the broiled flesh from the bones and skin was super easy. All in all it is a real winner. Thanks, Steve!
Don’t let this, uh, complicated recipe put you off … just know that this is pure serendipity. As the old saying goes … "Even a blind pig finds an acorn sometime!"
One or more fresh (as in very recently caught) striper fish.
Clean and prepare the fish per the above recipe description. Broil it in a preheated 300ºF oven for 10 to 15 minutes based on the size of the fish. The top of the fish should be four to five inches below the heating element.
Pre-warm a serving platter in the bottom part of the oven while the fish is broiling.
Test the fish for doneness at five minute intervals by cutting the flesh and seeing if there is no raw flesh left in the thickest area. If the surface of the fish is becoming too well done before the interior is cooked then move the fish further away from the heating element, cover the surface with aluminum foil, and finish the cooking using a baking cycle instead of the broiler element.
Serve the fish on the pre-warmed platter with salt and pepper. Let each guest remove the flesh to his/her plate with a serving fork.
Enjoy. This dish goes well with French fries and coleslaw and beer.