Striper Fishing: How to Cook Your Catch of the Day

The crisp fall weather has finally made it’s way to the peach state and along with cooler temperatures  striper fishing season has arrived at Lake Lanier. “The last two days have been exceptional on leadcore and downline bluebacks,” says angling aficionado Shane Watson. The fish started jumping as early as September 16th at the freshwater lake, just begging to be caught and turned into dinner, according to Watson.

Speaking of dinner, this is the perfect time to take advantage of the last of the garden tomatoes and cucumber growing season. Compliment your freshly-caught striper with this recipe for a cool salsa along with directions on how to perfectly grill your catch of the day.

Grilled Striper with Gazpacho Salsa
Serves 4

2 ea fresh, garden tomatoes, diced
1 ea fresh, garden cucumbers, diced
1 ea ear of grilled corn, kernels removed
1 ea jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch, cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
salt and white pepper, to taste

4 ea striper fillet, skin on
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Extra cilantro sprigs
1 ea lemon, cut into wedges

Directions: Combine the first nine ingredients in a mixing bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside for at least an hour unrefrigerated to allow the flavors to blend.

Get your coals going in your grill. We prefer hardwood lump charcoal to briquettes. The flavor is better and there is no filler or lighter fluid to burn off. It also burns at a high temperature and takes less time to be ready to grill. It will, however, burn faster so you may need more depending on how much you have to grill. In the meantime lightly coat the striper with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. When the grill is very hot, place the striper on the cleaned grate skin side down. When the skin is crispy, gently turn the fish to finish cooking and close the lid. When fish is just cooked through, place the gazpacho salsa on a platter and top with the fish skin side up. If desired garnish with fresh cilantro sprigs and lemon wedges.

The salsa can be made up to 2 days ahead of time and taken on site. The longer it has to allow the flavors to blend, the better it will be. This goes very well with rice pilaf or just a simple, crispy French baguette and a chilled Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc.

Bon voyage, bon appetit, and enjoy your striper!

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