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