Thyme-charred Whole Striped Bass with Confit of Lemon, Garlic, and Thyme

Yield: Serves 4

This fish is roasted under a covering of fresh thyme, with chars in the oven. This gives the fish a smoky flavor, but when serving the fish, the large pieces of charred thyme should be carefully removed and discarded. Have the fish-monger remove the guts, fins, gills, and spines from the fish; it is easier and safer.


  • 4 ounces of fresh thyme sprigs gutted, and fins and gills removed
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fish stock or chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup Lemon and Garlic Confit
  • 1/4 cup Lemon Oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

The Fish Stock or Chicken Stock The Lemon and Garlic Confit, warm, in a small saucepan over low heat The Lemon Oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Fill a medium mixing bowl with water. Remove enough leaves from the thyme sprigs to yield about 2 tablespoons finely chopped. Reserve the chopped thyme (discard the stems), and soak the remaining sprigs of thyme in the water for at least 10 minutes.

Cut 5 or 6 shallow, diagonal lines, spaced about 1 inch apart, across 1 side of the body of each fish. Take care not to cut all the way through the flesh, but just to score it, about 1/8 of an inch or less. The other side of each fish is left uncut. The scoring of the flesh allows the essence of the charred thyme to penetrate the fish.

Season the fish inside and outside with kosher salt and black pepper. Spread about half of the thyme sprigs over the bottom of a roasting pan, place the fish on the thyme, scored-side up, and cover them with the remaining thyme.

Roast the fish until the flesh behind the head can be easily separated from the spine, about 20 minutes. Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Using two large stainless-steel spatulas, remove the whole fish from the roasting pan and transfer them to a platter. Remove the larger pieces of the charred herbs.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, over medium-high heat, combine the Fish Stock or Chicken Stock and the Lemon and Garlic Confit with 1/4 cup of the Lemon Oil in which it was cooked. Bring to a rapid boil, and cook about 1 minute. Stir in the lemon zest, chopped fresh thyme, and fresh lemon juice. Season with kosher salt and black pepper to taste, and remove from the heat.

Place the fish on a large platter with ramekins of Lemon and Garlic Confit on the side.

Recipe from Mark Peel & Nancy Silverton's The Food of Campanile
© 1997 by Mark Peel & Nancy Silverton. All rights reserved