In honor of Mother Ocean Day we’d like to share this Striped Bass sandwich recipe. Mother Ocean Day is a day to celebrate the beauty and wonder of the ocean. It’s also a day you can share the ways we can respect the ocean with the next generation—never polluting them in anyway, shopping for fish that’s in season, and opting for ocean-friendly seafood in your cooking. Many species of fish are overfished and threatened with extinction from illegal fishing.
The good news is it’s easy to substitute ocean-friendly seafood in your favorite recipes. While lots of us love Grouper, consider eating Striped Bass instead. Striped Bass has a similar sweet flavor with a thick flaky fillet. It’s ideal for grilling with a traditional “blackening” spice as well as beer-battered and sautéed for tacos. Striped Bass is in season at the end of May.
Walnut Harissa (makes 1 2/3 cup):
· 6 hot to mild dried chilies like ancho, chile de arbol, guajillo, or a blend
· 5 TBSP extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil
· 1 large garlic clove
· 2 tsp sweet paprika
· 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
· 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
· 1/2 tsp ground cumin
· 1 large carrot, peeled and finely grated
· 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
· 1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
· 1/2 tsp sea salt, plus to taste
· 2 roasted red peppers, seeded
· 3/4 cup nonfat or low-fat Greek yogurt
· 1 whole-wheat baguette, or 4 whole-wheat soft rolls, split
· Melted unsalted butter, for brushing
· 1/2 medium bulb fennel, quartered and cored
· Handful of sharp or spicy lettuce, such as arugula or rocket
· 3 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
· Sea salt
· Freshly ground black pepper
· Six 4-ounce black or striped bass fillets, scaled and pin bones removed
· 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
· Hearty pinch of red pepper flakes
· 1 medium cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
For the Walnut Harissa:
1. Place chilies in a medium heat-proof bowl and pour in 1/2 cup of boiling water. Set chilies aside to steep and soften, about 30 minutes. Strain and reserve the water. Clean chilies by cutting off tops and scraping out seeds. Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat then add the garlic, paprika, coriander, cayenne, and cumin. Cook the spices for one minute or until toasted and fragrant. Then add the carrot and chopped walnuts, cooking for 1 minute to soften. Remove from the heat and set aside.
2. In a blender or mini food processor, puree the chilies, 1 TBSP of their steeping liquid, and the roasted red peppers to make a paste. Then slowly pour in the garlic, spices, and oil to thicken the paste. Taste and season with salt and lemon, adding a touch at first and the whole amount, as needed. Store 1 cup of the walnut harissa in an airtight container in the fridge. Stir the remainder into the Greek yogurt and set aside for dressing the sandwiches.
To Make the Sandwiches:
1. Preheat broiler to high.
2. Brush cut sides of bread with melted butter. Set aside to broil just before you build your sandwich.
3. With a sharp knife or mandolin, slice the fennel as thinly as possible. In a bowl, toss lettuce and fennel with 1 TBSP olive oil and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Set aside.
4. Lay Striped Bass fillets on a cutting board lined with parchment, skin up. Pinch the skin lightly and score it diagonally about 1/4 inch deep with a thin, sharp knife. Repeat about 6 times across the skin of the fish. This helps the flesh cook more evenly and prevents it from curling up while cooking. Sprinkle salt, pepper, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes on both sides of the fish.
5. In your Pujols Kitchen Cookware’s large sauté pan, heat 2 TBSP of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the fish, skin-side down, and cook for about 4 minutes or until the skin is golden and crisp. While the fish is cooking, place your bread under the broiler for a few minutes until crisp and golden. Using your Pujols Kitchen slotted silicone spatula, gently turn fish over and cook the flesh side for 1 more minute or until just cooked through. Remove from the pan and set on a plate.
Now you’re ready to assemble the sandwiches:
1. Spread the walnut harissa on cut side of the bread, then layer on the fish, fennel salad, and cucumber slices. Serve warm or at room temperature.