Baked Bass with Spicy Rub

Baked Bass with Spicy Rub

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2 1-1 1/2 lb gutted and scaled whole firm-fleshed fish (striped bass, lake trout, snapper or sea bass)
2 tbsp Peppercorn-Coriander Root Flavor Paste
2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed, smashed flat with the side of a cleaver and cut into 1-inch lengths
2 limes, cut into wedges
s&p (optional)


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (or light a grill over medium heat).

Wash the fish inside and out and wipe dry.  Make three shallow diagonal slashes on each side of each fish.  Put some flavor paste in each slit and smear the rest of the paste over the outside and a little on the inside of the fish.  Put the chopped lemongrass inside the fish.

Place 2 18-inch square pieces of heavy duty-aluminum foil side by side on your work surface.  If you have fresh or frozen banana leaves, use them.  Strip out the central rib of each leaf and lay one or more overlapping pieces of banana leaf on top of each piece of foil.  Lay one fish on each set of wrappings - diagonally of whichever way allows a complete wrap.  Wrap each fish firmly in the banana leaf, if using, then the foil, tucking in the ends as you roll it up to seal it well.

Bake fish on a baking sheet in the center of the oven for 30 minutes (or grill 15-20 minutes per side on a grill rack 5-6 inches from the flame).  The fish should be moist and tender.  Remove from the heat and place on one or two platters.  Serve with rice, lime wedges and, if desired, s&p.