PHOTO: ERIK BERNSTEIN; FOOD STYLING: LENA ABRAHAM

Like a lot of our favorite seafood, striped bass pairs well with many flavors. Here, it’s served alongside a spicy herb-and-olive salsa that includes kalamata olives, preserved lemon, sun-dried tomatoes, and Calabrian chile peppers for a kick. (Look for these smoky, fruity Italian peppers in a jar in the condiment aisle of your grocery store or order online.) Looking for sides? Try it with roasted cauliflower or roasted red potatoes.

When you’ve got a nice piece of striped bass, whether you caught it in the wild or found it at the supermarket, you want to cook it right. Enter this foolproof method for a restaurant-quality sear, meaning the skin is crisp and the flesh is cooked until just opaque.

Too often, cooking skin-on fish means the skin either rips off in the pan or is a soggy disappointment. Not here. The first key to perfectly seared striped bass is to score the skin on the fish. This helps keep it flat during searing. Then, wait until the oil is shimmering in the pan, which prevents the skin from sticking. Voila! Now that you’ve gone to the trouble of getting that gorgeous skin, let’s keep it that way. Serve the salsa in a dish on the side so that the skin stays crispy until you’re ready to eat.

Can’t find striped bass? Look for another white fish like cod, trout, halibut, or black sea bass.

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Yields:

4

Prep time:

0

hours

20

mins

Total Time:

0

hours

30

mins

2 c.

cilantro, tender stems and leaves, roughly chopped

6 tbsp.

extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for garnish

1/2 c.

flat-leaf parsley, tender stems and leaves, roughly chopped

1/4 c.

pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped

1/4 c.

Finely chopped preserved lemon

1/4 c.

chopped sun-dried tomatoes

2 tsp.

chopped Calabrian chile peppers (depending on spice level), or an equal amount fresh fresno, serrano, or Thai chile

Freshly ground black pepper

4


(4- to 6-oz) fillets striped bass, skin-on

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  1. In a medium bowl, stir together cilantro, 4 tablespoons oil, parsley, olives, preserved lemon, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, chile peppers, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
  2. Use a knife to score the skin in a diagonal pattern, about 4 times per fillet, making sure to just slice through the skin, not the flesh. Season fish on both sides with 1 teaspoon salt, dividing evenly.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the fillets, skin-side down. Cook until the skin is crisp and golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Use a thin spatula to flip the fillets. Cook until opaque throughout, 1 to 2 minutes more.
  4. Transfer fish to a plate. Serve with the salsa and a drizzle of oil, if you like.

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striped bass topped with herb olive salsa

PHOTO: ERIK BERNSTEIN; FOOD STYLING: LENA ABRAHAM

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