Leland’s first whole fishLeland’s first whole fish

The enemy:

The spoils:

This was my first experience with a whole fish in my house. I love to order them in restaurants, but I guess I have been afraid of doing it myself at home for some reason. This changed after I took a knife skills class a few weeks ago in which we learned to fillet trout. I have a lot of work to do in the field of fish butchery, but I understand the basic principles. I lost a bit of this striped bass’s meat in the process today, but I didn’t feel completely ridiculous cutting away the fillets. It’s a start.

So after I filleted this bastard this morning, I rubbed him with oil and seasonings and fresh herbs and then left him in the refrigerator all afternoon. None of this seemed to make much of a difference, or at least the herbs didn’t. The garlic came through loud and clear, though, unlike the salt.

To cook the fillets, I seared them on the skin side in very hot oil for about two minutes, and then I flipped them just to take off the rawness on the flesh side. It came out tender, flaky, and perfect, and it reminded of how much fun it is to cook fish. I used to cook salmon every week, and then I got sick of it and never cooked it again.

On the side up there, over the rice, is a Mayan onion cooked into delicious oblivion along with diced carrots and bacon. On the side and not pictured above was the best applesauce I’ve made yet, which involved two Granny Smith apples and three McIntosh. I’ll be sharing that with the Epifurious gang later tonight at their Scrabble party downtown.


I am glad you enjoyed, but it is basically my nightmare on a plate. Although I did once enjoy a whole fish in Turkey. It was baked in a salt crust and then set on fire. Could have been the pyrotechnics that did it for me though.

Where did you buy the fish and what type is it? Looks delicious!

Thanks, you two! It’s a striped bass from FreshDirect. I know there are better sources for fish, but sometimes the anonymity of FD is nice for something you’ve never cooked before.

I took a fish class at the ICE a few years ago – for three Friday nights in a row we learned everything about whole fish, including how to fillet them, serve them whole, etc. It was one of the better food classes I’ve taken…

Looks amazing! Mayan onion, hm? Interesting… and, no doubt, very tasty.

I cut apart my first whole rabbit last winter to make sausage, and I had to drink some Scotch first just to get comfortable with the idea. Congratulations on your first fish. :)

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