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Grilled Striped Bass with a Mango Salsa

Seafood Recipes

grilled striped bass

Summer in New England and local New England seafood. For me, it doesn’t get much better than that. In many ways, this recipe for a grilled striped bass with mango salsa is the ultimate New England summer seafood dish because wild striped bass is only in-season during the summer months. Topped with a juicy sweet, mint and mango salsa, it’s truly a great recipe to make for those backyard summer cookouts.

I’m also excited to announce that this recipe is part of a 6-month sponsored collaborative program called the Massachusetts Seafood AmBASSadors. The program is sponsored by the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) and the Woods Hole Sea Grant Education Research Center. Funding is provided by the proud commercial fishermen of Massachusetts from permit fees at no additional cost to the fishermen via DMF’s Seafood Marketing Grant program. It’s also in conjunction with Eating with the Ecosystem, a New England-based non-profit working to expand awareness of and access to local New England seafood.

The Massachusetts Seafood AmBASSadors

Along with five other Massachusetts-based bloggers/ambassadors, we’ll be creating content to expand awareness and demand for the wonderful diversity and abundance of local Massachusetts seafood. I’ll be posting recipes here on my blog but also sharing pics and videos on my Fearless Eating Instagram page and Facebook page.

Massachusetts seafood ambassadors

My fellow ambassadors include fellow seafood blogger Jenny Shea Rawn, scallop fisherwoman Abigail Rose of Midnight Our Scallops, dietitian and personal trainer Chrissy Carroll of Snacking in Sneakers, farmer Elise Smith of Cedar Rock Gardens, and Aliya Zarei of The Spice Girl. Please check them out and follow their social media pages. They’ll be sharing lots of seafood recipes too!

Why Striped Bass is a Great Seafood Choice

Contrary to popular belief, our commercial fisheries in the United States are incredibly well-managed and regulated. All commercial fishermen follow strict catch and size limits to ensure healthy fish and shellfish stocks. Buying seafood from US sources means you are buying sustainable seafood.

This should be a source of national pride. As consumers, we should be supporting and celebrating our national fisheries. But we don’t. Approximately 90% of all seafood consumed in the US comes from overseas. We import massive volumes of cheap farmed shrimp and farmed salmon, as well as other species that compete with and hurt our local fishermen and fishing economies. We also export a tremendous amount of our own seafood to countries that place a higher value on it than we do.

Buying seafood from US sources means you are buying sustainable seafood.

And so the mission of the Massachusetts Seafood AmBASSadors is to help level the global playing field by creating a greater market demand for our native seafood. In particular, we’ll be creating content and recipes to educate and inspire consumers to purchase and cook native Massachusetts seafood. Massachusetts species like striped bass, bluefish, black sea bass, scup, monkfish, conch, and skate may not be as familiar as more common species, like salmon and shrimp, but they are just as nutritious and delicious.

I could not think of a better place to start than with a grilled striped bass recipe!

About Striped Bass

fillet for grilled striped bass recipe

They’re an iconic summer fish in New England. Also called stripers, they migrate to our shores in summer and are a favorite of recreational fishermen. They get their name from the beautiful horizontal black stripes that run along their sides.

Because they spawn in freshwater, they suffered precipitous declines throughout the 20th century due to coastal habitat loss and overfishing.

Aggressive decades-long conservation measures saw a remarkable recovery in the mid-2000s.

Though recreational fishermen can catch striped bass all year long (with strict catch and size limitations), the commercial fishery is limited mostly to a few summer months which are the only times you’ll find fresh wild-caught striped bass in markets.

What does Striped Bass Taste Like?

striped bass fresh off the boat

Striped bass is dense and meaty and has a slightly sweet, rich, and full flavor. They are not as oily as salmon or bluefish. Many people find oily fish “too fishy” tasting but find the more mild flavor of striped bass very appealing.

Because of their moderate fat content and dense, firm texture, striped bass is also versatile in the kitchen. They stand up well to baking, roasting, frying, and grilling. They even make excellent stews and soups! You betcha I include a soup recipe for striped bass in my cookbook, New England Soups from the Sea.

But honestly, I think grilling is the best way to cook striped bass. Grilling really brings out its wonderful, rich flavor. And I think the best way to complement that flavor is with a sweet minty mango salsa.

How to Make a Mango Salsa

mango salsa

First, and I can’t emphasize this enough, you need ripe, juicy mangos. Press into them. Similar to avocados, they should feel soft (but not too soft).

For a 4 to 5-person serving, I recommend using 3 mangos. With the other ingredients, that should make more than enough. In fact, you’ll probably have some leftovers. Better to have too much than too little!

First, slice your mangos into cubes. Check out this simple, quick video demo for how to do it. Of the two different methods detailed, follow the second one for the crisscross pattern.

Next, prepare the rest of the ingredients. You’ll need the following…

  • 1 and a half cups of cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 small or half of a large red bell pepper, chopped
  • Half of a small to medium-sized red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced (optional)
  • 1 cup loosely packed mint leaves, chopped, or more, to taste
  • 1/4 cup lime juice, from freshly squeezed limes, or more, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

mango salsa ingredients

You might ask why mint instead of the more common salsa ingredient, cilantro? The fresh, bright flavor of mint is a much better fit for sweet fruit salsas than tomato-based salsas. But you could certainly use cilantro if you don’t have mint.

Add everything into a mixing bowl and mix well. Taste it. It should be sweet, sour, minty, and a little spicy (if you choose to include a jalapeno).

adding lime juice to mango salsa

Don’t be afraid to adjust the flavors. Trust your taste buds! You might need to add more lime juice, more salt and pepper, more jalapeno, or more mint. Trust me, your tongue will tell you when you’ve hit that perfect combination. When you exclaim, “Hell yeah!” you’ll know you’ve got it right. I typically add quite a bit more lime juice and mint.

Also, here’s a little tip when adjusting the flavors. If for whatever reason, the mangos are not quite ripe, add a little organic sugar (I like coconut sugar). You really want the mango salsa to be nice and sweet.

How to Grill Striped Bass

To get a nice even flavor for your grilled striped bass, I recommend grilling it in some foil. You can also add in things like butter, wine, and herbs for additional flavors. Grilling it in foil will keep it from sticking to the grill grates and potentially burning. I put one fillet directly on the grill to compare the taste and texture.

grilled striped bass in foil

Sure enough, the skin burnt pretty well and when I flipped it, the flesh side stuck to the grate. That said, I am not a grill master. I chose the foil method because I was cooking for family and friends and I needed it to turn out right. It turned out to be a good call because everyone absolutely loved it, including my sister, who is not a big fan of seafood.

But if you’re more confident in grilling the striped bass so that the skin or flesh does not stick to the grill, please share in the comments below. Perhaps the type of grill matters too. I used a gas grill. Admittedly, that classic meaty charred flavor that develops from direct contact with the grate is really fantastic.

Here’s how to prepare your striped bass for grilling in foil:

Cut any larger fillets into individual serving sizes (about 6 ounces).

striped bass fillets

Place each fillet, skin-side down, in the center of a sheet of foil, lightly greased with olive oil. Each sheet should be big enough to fold the sides over the fish to form a pouch.

Season the fillet with lemon or lime juice and some salt and pepper. And top each fillet with a pat or two of butter.

Fold the edges of the foil around the fish to form a pouch. Use a fork to poke a few holes in the top so it releases steam when it cooks.

Pre-heat the grill to about medium-high.

When the grill is hot, place each foil packet on the grill, and cover. Every few minutes move the packets around to ensure even cooking. Some spots on your grill may be hotter than others.

How long to grill striped bass? It depends if you have a cover on your grill or not. If you have a cover, grill it for about 10 minutes. If you don’t have a cover, it may take a little longer.

To test for doneness, insert a fork into one of the fillets. It’s done when the fork easily goes through the entire fillet without resistance.

Plate the fillets and top them with the mint mango salsa.

grilled striped bass recipe with corn and veggies

What to Serve with Grilled Striped Bass

Whatever you want! Here are some good summery side dishes for this grilled striped bass recipe:

  • Corn on the cob
  • Potato salad
  • Green beans
  • Cole slaw
  • Any green salad of your choice
  • Watermelon or cantaloupe slices

More Sustainable Massachusetts Seafood Recipes

Grilled Striped Bass with Mango Salsa Full Recipe

grilled striped bass recipe

Grilled Striped Bass with a Mango Salsa

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 5 people
Author Craig Fear

Ingredients

For the Mango Salsa (makes about 4 cups):

  • 3 whole mangos, chopped into cubes (see pic and description above)
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small or half a large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 small to medium red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced optional
  • 1 cup mint leaves, loosely packed, chopped or more, to taste
  • 1/4 cup lime juice from 1 freshly squeezed lime or more, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the Striped Bass:

  • 2 pounds striped bass fillets
  • 1-2 wedges lemon or lime
  • 2 TBSP olive oil, to keep the fillets from sticking to the foil
  • 4-5 pats butter
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

For the Mango Salsa:

  1. Chop mangos into cubes by following the short YouTube video above

  2. Add and mix all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Taste. It should be a nice blend of sweet, sour, spice (if using jalapeno), and salt.

  3. If the mangos are not ripe enough, add a little coconut sugar.

  4. Add more lime juice, mint, and/or salt and pepper to taste.

For the Striped Bass:

  1. Heat grill to about medium-high.

  2. Cut striped bass fillets into 4 to 5 pieces

  3. Place each fillet, skin-side down, in the center of a sheet of foil, lightly greased with olive oil. Each sheet should be big enough to fold the sides over the fish to form a pouch.

  4. Season the fish with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, salt and pepper and top with a pat of butter (or two).

  5. Fold the edges of the foil around the fish to form a pouch. Use a fork to poke a few holes in the top so it releases steam when it cooks.

  6. Place the foil packets on the grill. Using a spatula or tongs, move the packets to different places on the grill every 3-4 minutes so that the fillets cook evenly.

  7. Cover the grill and cook for about 10 mintues. If grill does not have a cover, it will take a little longer. Fish is done when you can stick a fork all the way through without resistance.

  8. Remove fish from packets to individual plates. Top with mango salsa.

  9. Season to taste with more lime juice or salt and pepper.

  10. Enjoy!

More Sustainable

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Grilled Striped Bass with a Mango Salsa
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About the Author

Craig Fear is the creator of Fearless Eating and the author of three books, The 30-Day Heartburn Solution, Fearless Broths and Soups and The Thai Soup Secret. After years helping clients with digestive issues, Craig decided to pursue writing full-time. He intends to write many more books on broths and soups from around the world! Click here to learn more about Craig.

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