Literary Feasts: Dracula In Love, by Karen Essex – White Fish w. Wine & Capers


Literary Feast Banquet Image @ Linus's BlanketPicky eater that I was growing up, it took me years to figure out that I liked sauces and I that I actually liked them over food instead of meticulously separated out and consigned to Siberia on my plate.  The chances of me ordering something these days goes up immensely is it comes with a sauce or gravy.  I knew immediately why Mina gravitated toward the fish.

It always amazes me when I read books about the variety of the courses that were offered at meal time among the wealthy.  I usually like lamb, but am not crazy about mint sauce.

I relished in the aromas of the white fish with wine and capers, the lamb with mint sauce, and the carrots, but rejected the turnips, which I had eaten so many years at Miss Hadley’s that I had come to abhor them.  My repulsion made him laugh, and he signaled for a waiter to take the bowl away.  He finished serving the food and sat in his chair with an empty plate in front of him.  “Bon appétit,” he said to me. — from Dracula In Love

Striped Bass with Lemons, White Wine and Capers (from Good Housekeeping)


  • 1 Large Lemon
  • 1 whole(s) (about 3 pounds) striped bass or sea bass, cleaned
  • 1/4 cup of dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup of dry white win
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon(s) capers, drained
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) dried or 1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves plus additional for garnish
  • Ground Black Pepper

What to do:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Cut lemon in half; cut 1 half into 4 slices. Set aside remaining half. Rinse fish inside and out with cold running water; pat dry with paper towels. Make 3 diagonal slashes on each side of fish, cutting almost to bone.

Cut 2 sheets of foil, each 8 inches longer than length of fish. Place 1 sheet of foil in 15 1/2″ by 10 1/2″ jelly-roll pan, allowingends to extend over sides of pan. Place fish lengthwise in center of foil in pan. Place lemon and garlic slices in fish cavity. Squeeze remaining lemon over fish.

In small bowl, whisk wine, olive oil, capers, Dijon, tarragon, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until blended. Drizzle half of wine mixture into fish cavity; drizzle remaining wine mixture over fish, rubbing mixture into skin and slashes.

Place second sheet of foil on top of fish. Crimp edges all around to seal completely. Bake fish 25 to 30 minutes.

Before serving, with kitchen shears, cut opening in packet to let steam escape, then carefully pull back foil. With 2 wide spatulas, transfer fish to platter. Pour juices in foil over fish. Garnish with fresh tarragon.

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  1. I love sauces! Love to make them especially. But no mint please, and no capers. I pick them off. I shame my family with my pickiness.

  2. Mmmm, sauces make everything yummy. I can do with out the capers though. And since my success with fish is sketchy at best I think I’ll have to hand this recipe off to the better cooks in my life.

  3. I love sauces. When I was young I couldn’t have any gravy or sauce mix with anything else (like the veggies on my plate)so I’d have to get extra plates or bowls for my veggies when we had a sauce. My sisters still tease me about this even though I haven’t done it for years!