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SMOKED STRIPER HEAD - And Right From The Sea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Well Happy Thursday Great Cookies and here's to how gorgeous it is indeed!


A very kind fisherman did catch a 38.5 inch, 17.5 pound, striper yesterday morning, when I was on the beach, and then he gave it to me; which goes down in the books as one of the most humbled, flattered, grateful and exciting moments for me indeed!




Multitasking thus, let it never be said that I cannot hold my wine while also tending to a fish!



Laying him first upon my "Surf & Turf" table, I decided to name him "James Bond."




Then the real "tending" to it began, and so let it never be said that I won't get downright religious with my food!



From scaling it myself, gutting it myself, and even power-washing the mammoth thing, I had a ball! My kind of morning and to the hilt!




Other than the pointy dorsal fins cutting me a couple times due to my fast and wild handling, I am pleased to say that nothing gruesome and major in the way of cuts occurred and I'm quite intact!








He was such a beautiful fish! I dried him off after all that cleaning, and wrapped him in a clean beach towel and sort of bent him some, as to keep him in the fridge (right next to the delicious gluten-free beer!) while making my sides...




He was so charming and beautiful! Even when dead! Just gorgeous! And right off the local beach at 7 a.m. yesterday morning! How lucky am I!!





This would NOT fit on my tiny smoker or grill even - damn - and so I cut off the head and tail and smoked those, while placing the remaining fish body into a 26 inch paella pan with grapeseed oil and putting that over the four gas burners on my tiny stove.


I stayed with it, turning it constantly as not to stick - 33 minutes a side.




The head smoked 40 minutes at about 240 degrees and with pistachio shells as smoking chips - lending an aromatic and nutty and wonderful aroma to the "fall apart" smoky head meat that was INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!






THEN, I scraped any little bits of fleshy meat and skin that remained in the big paella stovetop pan after removing the fish;



Mixed some brown rice, black rice and red rice into a pot, added water and made that, and then added the "cracklings" of seared fish skin and meat into the rice - HEAVENLY!





And when assembling it all upon my Surf & Turf table, it was delightful!



Paired with a Far Niente Chard, as to pay special homage to this unexpected and amazing experience,





I stuffed the whole fish body with that rice-cracklings stuffing mixture...



And made a mango salad (fresh basil, mangoes, tomatoes, shallots, red wine vinegar and olive oil) which layered over the top of the fish and was so tasty when mixing against the meat...





The smoked head meat was the best (despite the body meat being so fresh, tasty, and soft) and so in hindsight or next time, I'd cut it all apart to fit on the smoker and smoke it all!


Never having cooked a striper however, this was my first time and that's how we learn!












The stuffing, the skin, and the smoked meat were my favorite parts (and that wonderful chilled Chard!) but I marinated mushrooms, asparagus, elephant garlic and red pepper and then layered that all around too, atop some organic salad greens.












Olive oil, blue salt, and black pepper (jn keeping with my simple way of eating) went over it all..






And today, I not only ate another bounty of it all as my main meal, (made for a wonderful cold salad now indeed), and took food to the very generous fisherman and his friend; but froze a bunch as well, and am a new, enthusiastic, and tremendously grateful, "Striper Fan" therefore! Here Here!


ESPECIALLY for the stuffing/cracklings bit and smoked head!!!!!!!!!


Thanks very much for checking out my fish! I am still amazed that it was caught right here, and that I was so blessed to receive and experience what I did!


Happy Thursday to all!


Cheers!!!!!!! - Leah

post #2 of 26

That is quite the fish, and a great post - Nice job. 


A full smoker is a happy smoker.



post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks very much Driedstick!


I really had a ball! My dogs appreciated it just as much as well!


Happy Thursday!!!!!!!!


Cheers! - Leah

post #4 of 26

I LOVE STRIPPERS!...Oh wait that's different...:drool...Great looking meal. When I taught fish preparation, I would demo cleaning, filleting and skinning fish, then had the kids do it. The fillets where Blackened with my awesome Blackening Spice and the rest of the bones and head went into stock. Fast forward a hour later and I would start eating Cheeks. SOOO Tasty!, Best part of the fish actually...JJ

post #5 of 26


That is a fine looking fish. I have never thought of smoking the whole head. I have done throats and they were to die for.

Happy smoken.


post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 

Well thank you Chef!


And here's to your strippers and cheeks! Smiles.


Agreed however, the cheeks being the pest part and this smoked head was just out of this world! A treat indeed! Your stocks must be sensational!


And David, thanks as well! Those throats must be amazing!! I'd smoke it all next time, and/or cut steaks to smoke and then freeze some fillet for some days and then make ribbon thin raw and ravishing carpaccio!


I guess it's time that I learn how to fish?


Such fun! Cheers to all! - Leah

post #7 of 26
You out did yourself this time! That's a big fish to attempt whatever the method.
Fish heads sold seperate here for curry or soup.Never occurred to me to smoke one.
I assume that less ambitious cooks cut fish like that In to steaks for the grill?
Pretty nice work by the fisherman.
post #8 of 26

What a great post


"The smoked head meat was the best (despite the body meat being so fresh, tasty, and soft) and so in hindsight or next time, I'd cut it all apart to fit on the smoker and smoke it all!"


I have smoked the back 8 to 10 inches of stripers before and after seing how the head being smoked looked Great. Guess I have a reason to catch one now.

Thanks for sharing


post #9 of 26

Another Awesome Post, Leah!!!-------------------:points:


First time I ever saw a fish hugged, but it's the first time I ever saw a young Lady clean a fish that size by herself, so I guess a little hugging was probably necessary!!


We usually chuck the head, unless there's some worthy cheek meat there, but that was interesting.Thumbs Up 


Again some Beautiful presentation too!!!:drool


Thanks for including us in the excitement !!!




post #10 of 26

Great looking meal!


If you had mounted him on a plaque do you think he would sing?




Different kind of bass I guess?


Good luck and good smoking.

post #11 of 26
fabulous thread, and fabulous job on the striper dish!! really, really looks all kinds of scrumptious.
we used to hit the strippers and cats at pyramid lake; no big 40's but 10-12ers all night long. after seeing your creation, may have to hit the water soon.
Cheers, thanks for the cool post.
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 

Well Happy Friday to all!


And thanks so very much for sharing in my fish fun!


I am still just so absolutely stunned, humbled, and delighted, by that very generous fisherman! I'd seen him over the course of a couple weeks, chatted with him on the mornings when he was there, and after about 49 patient hours tallied in, he caught that fish! It was a lesson to me about patience and "never giving up." Amazing stuff!


AND, I had an absolute ball cleaning it myself, removing each scale, gutting, washing; and am now so IN LOVE with smoked striper head! (That goes into my top five favorite foods now even, and so how delightful to have learned such this week)!


Mick, thanks for checking this out and for the nice comments! Yes, most folk around here throw out the skin even (tisk, tisk) and then cut it all up and freeze fillet pieces. I wanted the semblance of the whole fish intact but had tiny stovetop and smoker resources to work with yet enjoyed that challenge of "using what I have" nonetheless.


Richie, thank you as well! That's wild that you catch these yourself, and have smoked the bodies (I'd do that next time since the smoked meat was so "off the charts" and amazing) and so you must dine really well, with the water being near you and all. Such lucky stuff!


BEAR!!! Thank you entirely, for the points (so very kind) and nice words! Indeed, to drag it off the beach and down the road to my car, and clean it and cook it all by myself was a proud moment. It made me respect what fishermen do every day, (a couple small cuts from the sharp and pointy dorsal fins on my hands, as a badge of courage and/or proof albeit nothing too bad and so I'm grateful), and I felt genuinely "LUCKY" to not only be the recipient of the food, but to have the opportunity to get messy with that, and really know what it's like. What a kick! Thanks for appreciating that indeed!


Venture - Thanks tons for sharing too! I think a mounted one would be so wild!!!!!!!!!! Fishermen must just have a blast!


Redeyejedi - That's so incredible that you catch this stuff too! I'm so very impressed with the commitment, patience, strength, and skill which goes into what fishermen so devotedly do! Thanks for the nice words.


Meanwhile, having loved leftovers yesterday for lunch, and with more in the freezer, today is a simple "grilled camel burger and veggie" day, as I wrap up this week. Here's wishing everyone a sensational weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Cheers!!!!! - Leah

post #13 of 26

Very nice Leah. Your imagination with food is incredible. Well done............:first:



post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 



Thanks so very much!


I had a ball each step of the way, and now think that "smoked striper head," and a good bottle of wine, could be a fine meal in itself!


Meanwhile, thanks indeed for sharing in the joy, and happy Friday to you!!!


Cheers! - Leah

post #15 of 26

Leah, That's a great looking striper, and a very nice gift from a very generous fisherman. You're a lucky gal.


Your presentation of the dish looks wonderful with the body on the paella pan and the head and tail fin at either end.


Nice wine selection, also. Far Niente chard is always a good choice.

post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 

Hi David and thank you so much!


That was a treat beyond measure indeed, and I was comforted to learn that the kind fisherman did catch a 29 incher today, and thus he can take that one at least for himself. But how kind it sure was, to gift me with Wednesday morning's enormous and ever so spectacular and tasty fish.


I thought you'd appreciate the Far Niente indeed! Happy Friday to you!!!!!!! And to delicious things!!!


Cheers!!!! - Leah

post #17 of 26

All I can say is WOW!!!!!  Awesome meal you made.  Reinhard

post #18 of 26

Holy shamolly. Trade some cold smoked cheese for that. Got big stripers south of here in Beaver lake.  Gotta go down there sometime.:usa:

post #19 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thank you Reinhard! This was a treat and a treasure for me and mostly due to cleaning it myself. It really made me appreciate the food more than ever. (Eating some frozen leftovers from it today and that makes me smile as well). Happy weekend!


And thank you too, Dave17a! If you have some in your Beaver Lake you are so blessed indeed!!!! How fantastic!!! And thanks so much for checking out my fish!!!


Cheers!!!!!! - Leah

post #20 of 26

Good evening Leah,


Love your post.  Sorry to pull up an old post but I do have a question.  When you freeze the striper do you freeze it in water or by itself?


I was given another large one today.  Its fresh water striper but this one is huge.  About 40in.  


I've got it gutted and in the frig until I figure out how I want to cook or smoke it.


Thanks in advance


Edit:  When I cleaned this thing I couldn't help but notice  there was a black scale like stuff next to the backbone.  Never seen that in a fish before.  This one was a female, but this wasn't eggs.  Just curious  what it could be. 


One last question.   I tried, I really did.... How do you scale the damn thing?  :-)   This ain't no trout we're talking about here... :-)   Thanks for any help you can offer.



Edited by Wes W - 9/5/14 at 5:21pm
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