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Practice conservation with crab-stuffed striped bass

Catch-and-release might be the mantra of the modern angler, but when it comes to summer fishing, keeping a few for the grill or fryer can actually be more beneficial than catching and releasing fish all day on the water. Juan Granados of Hooked on Fishing Guide Service on Beaver Lake, may just have the best way to taste the fruits of conservation with this version of crab-stuffed grilled striped bass.

Granados says he and his business partner, Xieng Chanthavong, often see floating stripers when guiding clients that are likely the result of the stress from well-meaning catch-and-release attempts. 

“We started posting some recipes to our Facebook page to promote keeping a few of the stripers you catch during summer that you know aren’t going to survive,” Granados said. “We always get asked by clients about the best way to cook these fish. It’s great for frying, but grilling is another great way to enjoy it.”

Granados says larger crappie and walleye, other species he and Chanthavong guide for, also are good for grilling, but the striped bass filets are thick enough to stuff, so they are perfect for this recipe. The finished product tastes as good as it looks, and the recipe is really simple to follow. Honestly, the hardest part will be caching the striped bass, but Granados can help with that, too. 

Visit Hooked on Fishing Guide service on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/beaverlakeguideservice

Crab-stuffed Striped Bass

Ingredients:
Filets from a larger striped bass (6-pound live weight stripers or larger work well)
2-4 lemons, sliced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Old Bay or Blackened seasoning, to taste

Crab Stuffing:
8-oz. package cooked lump crab meat
½ medium-sized onion, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1 large egg
½ sleeve Ritz crackers
Blackened seasoning, to taste

Prepare a charcoal grill for indirect cooking, placing all charcoal on one side, leaving the other side to cook.

Mix the lump crab meat, onion, celery mayonnaise and egg together. Crush the crackers and add to the mixture until you get the consistency you like. Add blackened seasoning to give it a little spice. 

Prepare the striped bass filet by cutting out the center portion that holds the red meat. You’ll be left with two long chunks of white meat from each filet. The top portion near where the fish’s head is thicker and better for stuffing. Slice into the top filet to prepare a cavity for the crab stuffing. Brush with olive oil and season with Old Bay or blackened seasoning. Stuff the mixture into the prepared striped bass filet and place the filet on a bed of sliced lemons on the grill away from the coals. Cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Do not flip fish, simply allow the smoke and heat to cook until the fish is white and flakes easily with a fork. 

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