September’s Fish of the Month is striped bass—one of the fishes on Shedd’s “best choice list” for sustainability. This recipe for striped bass with roasted tomatoes and olive tapenade will wow your guests and bring bright piquant flavors to your table!

Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States, located between Maryland and Virginia. It’s also home to beloved East Coast seafood, like striped bass. Although striped bass originates in three separate watersheds, almost 70 percent of the population uses the Chesapeake Bay to spawn, or lay eggs, making it a critical habitat for the future of this species. Thirty years ago, high consumer demand drove massive overfishing of striped bass in the bay.

Today, management on the East Coast has changed for the better, and striped bass are a conservation success story. A fishery management plan was set in place with precautions like stock assessments and fishing quotas. Even more, striped bass are caught with a hook and line, resulting in little to no bycatch, or the accidental catch of other marine species.

Striped bass is a versatile fish in your kitchen and makes a sustainable substitute for grouper or rockfish. But don’t take our word for it, try our recipe yourself!

STRIPED BASS WITH ROASTED TOMATOES AND OLIVE TAPENADE
Serves 4

Ingredients
4 4-oz. striped bass fillets
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil, for pan-searing and roasting
2 tablespoons fruity Spanish olive oil, for tapenade
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
1 cup briny green olives, pitted and cut or torn into large chunks
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 small handful parsley
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

step 11. Toss the tomatoes with 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil, then season with salt and pepper. 

2. Roast tomatoes in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until tomatoes are soft, wrinkled and have given up some of their juices. Set aside to cool.

Process food3. Using a small blender or food processor, combine olives, garlic, parsley, lemon juice and zest, adding 2 tablespoons of Spanish olive oil in a stream as it processes.


season fish4. Pat fish dry and season well with salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat and add fish, skin side down.

Saute5. Lower heat slightly and cook for about 3 minutes, or until skin is lightly browned. Flip fish and cook for another 3 minutes. Flip fish two more times, cooking for 2 minutes on each side. 

FInal product with chef6. Divide the tomatoes between plates and place a piece of fish on each plate. Spoon the tapenade over the fish and serve immediately.

Kara Kotwas, Shedd Aquarium’s Right Bite team