The Beach Plum Inn has been a fixture on the Vineyard dining scene since opening in the 1950‘s. In 1977, The Beach Plum Inn Cookbook was published, adapting some of the Inn’s best recipes to the home kitchen. One of our favorites is the Striped Bass with Lobster Sauce, as it combines two great local seafood ingredients.
It’s easiest to make the lobster sauce ahead of time, so you can focus on cooking the fish perfectly.
First, we cooked a pound and a half lobster by boiling it in enough water to cover, for five minutes. Increase the cooking time by two or three minutes for each additional pound of lobster. Once done, we removed the meat from the shell and setting each aside to use later. To make the the stock, we added the bits of shell and carcass to a pot of water, along with chopped onions, carrots, celery and parsley stems. We let this mixture simmer on the stove for about and hour, then strained it to remove the chunks of shell and the like.
For the sauce, start by melting five tablespoons of butter in a saucepan. Once melted, mix in four tablespoons of flour and let it cook on medium for three minutes or so. Add one and a half cups of lobster stock, bring to a boil and then whisk the mixture until thick, and smooth. Next, add a quarter cup of dry white wine along with about 6 ounces of diced lobster meat.
Continue building the sauce with a quarter teaspoon paprika, a teaspoon of celery salt, and two tablespoons of freshly chopped chives. Bring to a second boil, then turn down the heat and add a quarter cup of pre-warmed heavy cream. Taste for salt and pepper.
Keep the sauce warm while you prepare the fish. You should have around three pounds of fresh striped bass filets (skin on), cut into six equal sized pieces. To cook, start with one-third of a cup of clarified butter, add half of the butter to an oven proof pan and melt on medium heat. Place the fish, skin sized down, into the pan, and cook for about five minutes. After the skin starts to crisp, slide the pan into the oven and broil for about six minutes. Remove the pan, brush the rest of the clarified butter onto the fish, squeeze on some fresh lemon juice and top with six tablespoons of breadcrumbs. Slide the pan back under the broiler until breadcrumbs are golden brown, remove and sprinkle with paprika.
Pour warmed lobster sauce over the filets and serve with chopped parsley and lemon wedges. The bass comes out firm yet moist, with the breadcrumbs adding a crunchy layer. The sauce is rich with butter, cream and lobster, with just enough acidity from the wine. The mild fish and flavorful sauce combine with bright lemon and fresh parsley, bringing out the ocean flavor in both. The dish is well balanced, like a classic New England dish with French accents.
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