Slideshow: Snapshots from Serious Eats: Fishing for Stripers with Harold Dieterle and Friends

First of the Day
First of the Day

Harold holds up the first striper of the day, a little 16 pounder just barely over the 28-inch limit. Still a keeper!

Reeling it In
Reeling it In

Stripers are super active swimmers who enjoy a good fight. They'll swim around the boat, which, when you've got four other rods and lines in the water, can get a little harrowing.

Not a Catch
Not a Catch

This was my biggest catch of the day. And it started out already on the boat, dead.

Open Wide!
Open Wide!

Stripers don't have sharp teeth—they tend to swallow their small prey whole—which means you can pretty safely hold your hand in their mouth to take a look at their gills. It's the sharp fins you've got to look out for.

The Haul
The Haul

From right to left, Harold, my sister, another buddy of mine, and me. Each holding our catch. Notice that I'm the only sorry sucker who only caught half of his allowed daily catch.

Headed Back
Headed Back

It was a long morning—up since 4AM, heading back to the dock just after noon. Harold takes the wheel while the mate starts scaling fish.

Getting the Guts
Getting the Guts

The digestive tract and some of the other guts don't make good eating, so they get removed and returned to the sea from whence they came. It's fun to sort through the stomach to see what sort of little guys he's been feeding on. Usually it's a combination of little fish, crabs, and shrimp.

Back at the Office
Back at the Office

We brought back one of the fish to the Serious Eats office to do some quick cooking with the ingredients we had on hand, no shopping. Harold starts by taking the sides off the fish before passing it to me to clean up the bellies and get rid of the pin bones using Niki's tweezers-that-definitely-weren't-designed-for-fish.

Almost There
Almost There

Filleting a fish is not the easiest task in the world, but stripers are big and have fairly distinct bones, making it easy to let the blade ride along.

Sashimi
Sashimi

There are few things I like more than ultra-fresh striped bass sashimi. It's one of the fish that I think does best straight out of the ocean, while it still has a very clean, lean flavor profile and a firm, almost crunchy texture. The belly in particular has great texture. We served it with a bit of soy and red vinegar, along with a re-purposed herb sauce from Taïm that I found in our fridge and combined with a bit of white miso and olive oil. I also used a few slivers of cornichon. That Taïm sauce can go on anything, though in retrospect I should have left a few more pieces plain to really appreciate their flavor.

Harold's First Course
Harold's First Course

Harold threw together a quick puttanesca sauce with some olive, anchovies, capers, white wine, tomatoes, and all of the good olive oil we had in house. Seriously. All of it.

Plating it Old School
Plating it Old School

The sauce had bits of braised striped bass belly in it. Way better than the jarred tuna I usually use for my fish-and-puttanesca pasta. No fresh herbs on hand, so he went with the dried parsley. How ironic and hip.

Scoring the Skin
Scoring the Skin

Harold scores the skin on a couple of striper filets to help render fat and prevent shrinkage when he pan roasts them.

Into the Skillet
Into the Skillet

Hot oil in a cast iron skillet. The key to really crisp skin is hot oil, and pressure when you place it down so that it stays flat as it cooks.

Butter Basting
Butter Basting

Plenty of butter to baste the fish with as it cooks. We call it pan roasting, but really it's halfway to deep-frying territory. The butter helps it brown and gives it a rich, nutty aroma. Harold also sticks the liver in the pan ("Have you ever had striped bass liver?" "Actually, no." "Hmm. Me neither. Let's see what it tastes like.").

More Basting
More Basting

More basting with butter. The hot fat sizzles as it hits the skin, crisping it even further.

Plated
Plated

Crisp-skinned striper, pan-roasted liver, and puttanesca sauce underneath.

The Office Digs In
The Office Digs In

Inter Lily, Managing Editor Jamie, former Managing Editor Erin, Art Director Robyn, and Associate Editor Niki had been patiently waiting for lunch. It's served.