RECIPE: Paula Peck’s Striped Bass Plaki

finished dish of striped bass plaki

Each summer, Megan Peck’s family revisits a crowd-pleaser: Striped Bass Plaki, a favorite of her famous cookbook author grandmother, Paula Peck. They’ve made a few changes to the recipe to line up with the offerings of the Peconic Bay, substituting whelk, oysters and blue crab for the shrimp in the original. Read Megan’s full story here.

Adapted from The Art of Good Cooking by Paula Peck

1 3- to 4-pound whole cleaned striped bass
2 lemons
Salt and pepper
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped scallions
2 bay leaves, crushed
½ teaspoon dried oregano
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried herbs
3 tablespoons chopped celery leaves
1 large onion, sliced
1 large tomato, sliced
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ bottle of white wine
12 scrubbed little neck clams
12 well-scrubbed mussels
8-12 shucked oysters
24 bay scallops
¼ cup blue crab meat and/or 4 whelks/scungilli

Preheat oven to 375°.
Make three or four diagonal gashes through top skin. Rub fish, inside and out, with ½ a lemon. Season stomach cavity with salt and pepper. Combine parsley, green onions, crushed bay leaves, oregano, garlic, basil, and chopped celery leaves. Put ⅔ of the mixture into the stomach cavity of the fish. Sprinkle remaining mixture over top of fish. Place fish in a large, shallow baking dish. On top of gashes, arrange alternate slices of onion, lemon and tomato. Season top of fish with salt and pepper. Pour olive oil over fish and pour wine around fish. Place on a high rack in preheated oven. Bake about 40 minutes or until wine is simmering around fish. Scatter scrubbed clams and mussels around fish. Continue to bake in oven about 10-15 minutes, until clams and mussels are just beginning to open. Add scallops, shelled oysters, whelks and crab (if using). Raise heat to 400° and bake 10-15 minutes longer. By this time, the scallops and oysters should be cooked. Remove from oven and serve with crusty bread to mop up the sauce. Serves 6.