A Sweet & Savory Dish That’s Perfect for Summer
This hot-and-sweet, Asian-inspired recipe pairs an easy, ginger-infused marinade for grilled striped bass with an intense, savory caramel sauce. The caramel is fragrant, flavorful, and has a nice salty punch from the fish sauce. Use it on seafood, chicken or pork.
Grilled Striped Bass with Sweet-and-Savory Caramel
- 2 tablespoons roasted peanut oil (see Note)
- 6 scallions, minced
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Four 6-ounce wild striped bass fillets, with skin
- One 3-inch piece of fresh ginger
- Vegetable oil, for grilling
- Fish Sauce Caramel, steamed white rice and sautéed baby bok choy, for serving
Fish Sauce Caramel
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 4 large shallots, very thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
- 1 dried hot red chile
- 3 star anise pods
- One 2-inch cinnamon stick
- 2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup Asian fish sauce
In a small bowl, combine the peanut oil with the half each of the scallions and sesame seeds and a big pinch each of salt and pepper. In a glass pie plate, rub both sides of the bass fillets with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Finely grate the ginger and squeeze through a piece of cheesecloth to extract the juice; you should have about 3 tablespoons of juice.
Light a grill or preheat a grill pan and brush with oil. Remove the bass from the marinade and wipe off some of the excess. Grill the bass over moderately high heat, skin side down, basting occasionally with the ginger juice, until nicely charred and crisp on the bottom, 3 minutes. Turn the bass and cook until just opaque in the center, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer to plates and drizzle with a spoonful of the Fish Sauce Caramel (recipe below). Sprinkle with the remaining scallions and sesame seeds and serve with rice and bok choy.
Fish Sauce Caramel
Total Time: 20 min
Servings: makes 2 cups
In a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, combine the sugar, lemon juice and 1/4 cup of water and bring to a boil. Using a wet pastry brush, wash down any sugar crystals on the side of the pan. Boil undisturbed over moderately low heat until a deep amber caramel forms, about 20 minutes.
Stir in the shallots, chile, star anise, cinnamon and pepper. Remove the saucepan from the heat and carefully whisk in the fish sauce and 1/4 cup of water. Stir over moderate heat until the caramel is dissolved. Pour the sauce into a heatproof bowl and let cool completely. Remove the chile, star anise and cinnamon stick. Use immediately or refrigerate.
MAKE AHEAD The caramel can be refrigerated in a lightly sealed container for up to 2 weeks.
NOTES Roasted peanut oil, as opposed to neutral peanut oil, smells richly nutty. Boyajin’s Fragrant Peanut Oil is available at specialty markets and from mingspantry.com.