If you're gearing up for a healthy and fit fall, think fish. There are many health benefits to adding more fish into your diet. The U.S. Department of Agriculture 2010 Dietary Guidelines state Americans typically eat only 3.5 oz. of fish per week, but to boost immunity and achieve the necessary intake of Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and nutrients for healthy cardiovascular and nervous systems, 8 oz. is necessary.
For these busy school days it's just so much easier to toss a handful of frozen chicken nuggets on a cookie sheet than to prepare a big meal. Just thinking about what to make for dinner can raise one’s blood pressure to unhealthy levels. That’s why it's important to have a few go-to healthy meals that don’t cost a lot and are easy to prepare.
With this in mind, I have a very easy recipe for a baked stuffed striper that tastes delicious and is easy to make with just a few fresh vegetables and carefully selected pantry items.
Striped bass is a meaty, white fish, packed with protein and healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, that can be broiled, baked or even grilled. Now, bass is not normally on our menu, but I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time when my mother offered up two pounds of the fresh caught fish given to her by a local fisherman. I jumped at the opportunity, even though I’d never cooked bass in my life.
I decided to keep it simple - and so glad I did.
There are a few items I always stock up on so I know in a pinch I can make something work. I lovingly refer to this method as squeezing blood from a stone. For instance, I try to always have onions, celery and carrots on hand. All have extremely forgiving shelf lives, and are very versatile. I keep a hand of Ginger root in a freezer bag in the freezer where it will keep for months, making it so easy to add that dash of fresh, zestiness when grated right into a dish. And cooked shrimp- a must have in the freezer; I throw a handful into all sorts of dishes from chilis to pastas for an added flavor and protein boost.
Knowing I had these items readily available made this recipe come together quickly and easily for a meal my kids loved every bite of, that I knew was good for them, too. I did whip up a quick and easy bechamel (white) sauce, but it is certainly not necessary as the fish and stuffing were filling enough, and the dish maintained it’s moistness. Serve it up alongside native steamed squash or baby spinach, and you've got yourself a complete meal in under a half hour! Sometimes the best meals come together on a wing and a prayer, with a little help from family. Enjoy!
Striped Bass With Ginger, Citrus Shrimp Stuffing
2 lbs. striped bass
2 ribs celery, chopped
½ medium white onion, diced
½ lemon, juiced or 2 T. lemon juice
¼ c. bread crumbs, any kind
⅛ c. parmesan cheese
1 tsp. fresh grated ginger, or ¼ tsp. dried ginger
2 T. butter
12 large cooked shrimp, thawed and chopped
¼ c. fresh parsley, or 2 T. dried parsley
pinch of salt
crank of black pepper
In a large saute pan set to medium heat, melt butter and add vegetables. Stir to coat. When onions are translucent, (about 5 minutes), add the rest of the ingredients, stirring to combine. Shut off heat. Place fish in 9”X12” glass casserole dish, skin side down, and press stuffing along the length of the fish, squeezing to form an even layer along length of fish. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Serves 6.
Bechamel (White) Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups milk, heated
Freshly ground pepper
*1/4 c. parmesan cheese (optional)
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and bubbles a bit, but don't let it brown — about 2 minutes. Add the hot milk, continuing to stir as the sauce thickens. Bring it to a boil. Add *cheese, salt and pepper to taste, lower the heat, and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from the heat. To cool this sauce for later use, cover it with wax paper or pour a film of milk over it to prevent a skin from forming.