This is a full-flavored summer dish. The cabbage comes out saucy and slightly crunchy, the char on the scallions and garlic scapes mellow out and blend well with the acidity from the lime and vinegar in the cabbage. The marinade gives the fish a smoky bbq flavor, but the fish itself still shines through as the key component of the dish. Can be served plated or family style.
Serves 4 to 6
1 pound striped bass collars
1 pound striped bass fillet
Salt, to taste
1 cup gochujang paste
¼ cup honey ( I like local honey from Wilson Farms in Lexington )
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin (store bought is fine)
Pinch or two of Korean chili peppers
1 bunch garlic scapes
½ bunch scallions, divided and half of the greens chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Cooking oil, preferably canola
1-inch knob of ginger, peeled and minced
2-4 garlic cloves, minced
¼ head red cabbage, chopped into 1-inch pieces
Rice wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
1 pinch Tajine
Korean Chile Pepper (Gochugaru)
About 30 minutes before you’re ready to grill, pat the striped bass dry and sprinkle with salt. Mix the gochujang, honey, soy sauce, hoisin, and chili flakes together in a medium bowl. Add a drop or two of water to loosen up the marinade — it should have a silky texture. Place the fish in the bowl, turn to coat the fish, and refrigerate until ready to grill.
Light the grill. While you’re waiting for it to heat up, start the cabbage. Heat a wok or any high heat sauté pan over high heat. Add a tablespoon or two of oil and heat until it’s just about to smoke. Add the garlic and ginger, stir for 10 seconds, then add the cabbage and stir until it’s coated in hot oil. Let it sit for 1-2 minutes — it will soften but also char slightly. Once it’s slightly crunchy but flexible, add a splash of rice wine vinegar and the lime juice. Continue to cook, stirring, until the liquid has mostly evaporated. Toss in a pat of butter and a pinch each of Tajine spice and gochugaru. Remove from heat and set aside.
When the grill is ready, place the bass collars and filets on the grill and cook the collars for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, and the filets for 4 to 5 minutes per side, depending on how hot the grill is. Brush any remaining marinade on the fish while it cooks.
When the fish is almost done, toss the scapes and half of the whole scallions in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and place on the grill. Keep an eye on them, they will char up quickly! When you smell the garlic fragrance and the scapes and scallions are lightly charred, pull them off the grill and set aside.
Remove bass from grill and let rest while you heat the cabbage back up and finish with chopped scallion greens.
Plate individually or serve family-style.