The key to preparing this whole fish is scoring deep cuts for quick and even cooking.
1 (2-pound) whole striped bass, gutted, scaled, and trimmed, on both sides (see Scoring Whole Fish, below)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 sprigs fresh thyme, divided
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh lavender (optional)
Lemon rind strips
Fresh thyme, rosemary, and, if desired, lavender sprigs
How to Make It
Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Score whole striped bass; rub evenly with olive oil. Sprinkle skin and scored flesh with salt and pepper. Place 4 sprigs each of thyme, rosemary, and (if desired) fresh lavender into cavity. Tuck 3 lemon slices, 1 strip lemon rind, and 1 sprig of each herb into each scored slit. Grill 7 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. (Or place fish on a baking pan, and roast at 425° for about 25 minutes.)
SCORING WHOLE FISH
Making incisions through the skin and flesh (called scoring) takes the guesswork out of cooking whole fish.
Choose the right fish. Round fish--which have an eye on each side of the head, such as bass, snapper, and trout--are ideal.
Make deep cuts. Use a chef's knife to cut through the flesh at a 45-degree angle, down to the bone. Score 1 1/2 inches apart between the pectoral fin and tail.
Fill with flavor. Deep, angled pockets provide a wide area to stuff herbs and thoroughly season the flesh and the skin.
Cook to perfection. Scoring deep cuts lets heat circulate around the flesh for quick, even cooking. Check doneness inside the cut, at the thickest part of the fish. The flesh should be firm and opaque and separate easily from the bone.