WRITTEN ON August 4th, 2009 BY Meredith AND STORED IN Fish and Shellfish

As a born and bred Marylander, I’ve grown up with a love of and attachment to the sea that borders on obsession. “Oh what are men compared to rocks and mountains?” Yeah, yeah, I get it. But whenever I get further than 2.5 hours from the shore, I start to feel a little land-locked. I’m an east-coaster at heart, and to me, the perfect day is one spent at the beach, gorging on any and all fresh seafood I can get my hands on. Which is why I always make it a point to stop off at the fishmongers in the Greenmarkets, who bring their catch directly in from the baymen in Montauk. This week, they had the most gorgeous, shiny skinned striped bass. Back home, on the Chesapeake, we called them rockfish. Here, New Yorkers know them as stripers, caught in the waters off Long Island’s South Fork and in the Great South Bay. They’re basically a blank canvas. White fleshed and meaty, their skin is thin enough to eat (try it, I promise it doesn’t taste fishy, just flavorful) and they go well with lots of preparations. This one is simple and doesn’t mask the flavor of the fish. I served it with this bulgur salad and lemon wedges, but it would go well with pretty much any bright, summer salad. Want a little mood music? Put on Billy Joel’s “Downeaster Alexa” raise a glass to salty dogs and baymen everywhere.

Showing your stripes

Showing your stripes

Lemon and Thyme Striped Bass (serves 2)
½ cup olive oil
3 tbsp lemon zest
4 springs fresh thyme, stripped
1 tbsp fresh cracked black pepper
2 portions striped bass with skin on, about ¾ lb total
Salt and pepper

Combine first 4 ingredients in a glass baking dish. Add fish, flesh side down, cover, and let marinate in fridge about 2 hours. Prepare grill: heat to medium-high, and oil well with canola oil. Make sure grill is hot when you put the fish on. Remove the fish from its marinade, season liberally on all sides with salt and pepper. Place fish, skin side down, on grill. Do not move. This is important. If you move the fish before it’s ready, it will stick. Give it about 4-5 minutes before you try to flip it. Flip fish, cook another 4 minutes on the flesh side. Serve with lemon wedges.

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