Upon looking at the photo, you may be asking yourself: Why are there still Meyer lemon slices inside the fish? Surely you wouldn’t want to eat them. But actually, eating a Meyer lemon is nothing like eating a regular lemon. I was first turned on to the idea of Meyer lemons not just as a garnish, but as an integral part of a dish, during my brief stint as a cook at a well-known Italian restaurant in New York City. There, they served it in a refreshing salad with watermelon radishes, snowflake celery leaves, and pickled onion arranged on a base of burrata.
Such was my inspiration when I created this dish. I wanted something quick, refreshing, and fruity. When thinly sliced, Meyer lemon isn't overwhelming — rather, it brightens up mildly flavored ingredients such as this striped bass. The slight bitterness in the rind balances out the slightly sweet flavor of the fruit nicely. Cooking whole fish doesn't get a whole lot easier than this.
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- One 1-pound striped bass, scaled and cleaned
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 Meyer lemon, sliced thinly
- 8 sprigs thyme
- Juice of 2 Meyer lemons
- 1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Pat the fish dry and coat inside and out with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season generously all over with salt and pepper. Stuff as many of the Meyer lemon slices inside of the fish as you can, leaving out the ends which are mostly pith. Layer the remaining Meyer lemon slices on top of the fish and place the thyme inside.
Place the fish on a baking sheet or dish and transfer to the oven. Bake until the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the remaining olive oil with the remaining ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste, and set aside.
Remove the fish from the oven and transfer to a plate. Remove the thyme sprigs and drizzle some chimichurri on top. Serve immediately with additional chimichurri on the side.