I was editing a story by Ike DeLorenzo about tasting Mass. grown products vs. those grown outside this region -- it's running on Wednesday -- and one of the dishes in the line-up is striped bass. I haven't had any all summer, so I dashed out to buy some.
Local striper is one of the great fish in our sea and while it's fabulous on the grill, I think the smoke takes over and you could be eating a lesser fish (and less expensive fish) and enjoy it just as much.
I wanted to roast it in a hot oven but needed something to cover the top and bottom. This is a theory I have about fish. Many chefs pan-fry fillets because they want to keep them moist. I prefer roasting fish, but you have to protect it from the heat of the oven.
So I caramelized some lemon slices in a little oil in a hot skillet. They're delicious, rind and all. Then I laid the slices on the fish skin and set each piece on a bed of thyme. Wonderful summer meal, the kind you remember. I hardly did anything -- except heat the house. We were mopping our brows with one hand, while flaking the fish with the other.
Striped bass with caramelized lemons
Olive oil (for the dish)
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 1/2 pounds thickly cut boneless striped bass, cut into 4 pieces
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 lemons, thinly sliced
1. Set the oven at 425 degrees. Lightly oil a baking dish large enough to hold the fish in one layer. Spread the thyme springs in the dish.
2. Rub the fish with oil, salt, and pepper. Set it on the thyme.
3. In a large skillet, heat the oil and when it is hot, add the lemon slices. Salt them and cook over medium high heat for 2 minutes on a side or until they are tender and lightly browned.
4. Arrange the lemon on the fish in overlapping slices. Sprinkle with oil.
5. Roast the fish for 15 minutes or until it is cooked through. Sheryl Julian
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ContributorsSheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.
Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.
Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.