4 whole (1-pound) (450-g) striped bass, scaled, cleaned and rinsed in salt water
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 garlic cloves, sliced
4 (4-inch) (10-cm) rosemary branches
8 sprigs Italian parsley
8 whole basil leaves
4 lemon slices, 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup Chicken Stock (see page 228)
1/2 cup clam juice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons clam juice (slurry)
Baked Striped Bass with Garlic and Rosemary
Branzino Al Forno
Preheat the oven to 500 f (260 C). Season the fish inside and outside with 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Stuff each dish with 1 sliced garlic clove, 1 rosemary branch, 2 sprigs of parsley, 2 basil leaves and 1 lemon slice. Place the fish in a greased 11 x 13-inch (28 x 33 cm) baking pan. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the cornstarch slurry to the dish and bake in the oven, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes, turning once. (If you do not have a baking pan large enough to hold all 4 fish, then put 2 fish each in 2 (9 x 13 inch) (23 x 33 cm) baking pans and divide the sauce ingredients evenly between the two pans before putting them in the oven). Transfer the cooked fish to a serving platter and keep warm.
Pour the cooking juices into a saucepan, bring to a boil and add the remaining salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat, add the cornstarch slurry, return to the heat and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 30 seconds.
Pour a little of the sauce over the fish and serve the extra sauce on the side.
If striped bass is unavailable in your area, subsitute whole rockfish of red snapper in this recipe. These fish will most likely be larger than the striped bass, so you will need to buy only 1 (3 1/2 to 4 pound) (1.6 to 1.8 kg) fish to serve 4 people.