IN SEASON from mid-April to late October, I find the striped bass—equally at ease in rivers and in the ocean—to be the most fascinating, delicious fish of the East Coast. Pesto, or pistou, is usually made with basil, but here we’ve used the refreshing, vibrant taste of cilantro to match the lemony croquettes, our own take on the classic arancini. At the bottom of the plate, a cilantro tapioca nage surrounds the artichoke and fava bean medley.
Combine all the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Reserve, chilled.
For the Artichokes and Fava Beans
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and place a bowl of ice water on the side. Add the fava beans and boil until tender, about 1 minute. Chill in the ice water, pat dry, and set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine the sachet, bay leaf, thyme, chicken stock, and lemon juice. To clean each artichoke, peel away the outer leaves and trim the stem to about 1½ inches in length. Using a sharp paring knife, remove the skin from the stem and any tough leaf remnants from the base. Immediately submerge in the liquid to keep from oxidizing. If needed, add water to keep artichokes submerged. With a mandoline, thinly slice half of 1 of the artichokes lengthwise into a small container, submerge with some of the liquid from the saucepan, and reserve for the garnish, chilled. Once all the artichokes are cleaned, bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until tender. Remove from the heat and cool in the liquid. Use a spoon to scoop and discard the chokes from the artichokes and cut the flesh into ¼-inch dice. Transfer to a container and stir in enough cooking liquid to coat. Reduce the remaining liquid to 1 cup; adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed, and reserve, chilled.
For the Lemon Croquettes
Grease an 8½ × 4½-inch loaf pan and line it with parchment paper. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the stock to a light simmer. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes, or until well coated. Ladle 1 cup of the stock into the pan and simmer. Stir often and add more stock, ½ cup at a time, as it is absorbed by the rice while it cooks. The rice should cook in 16 to 18 minutes and be moist but not runny. When the rice is cooked, stir in the Parmesan, mascarpone, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
Evenly spread the mixture into the prepared pan and chill until firm. Invert the rice onto a cutting board and cut into at least twelve 1-inch cubes.
For the Dijon Tapioca Sauce
In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a simmer and stir in the tapioca pearls. Cook for 20 minutes, or until the pearls are cooked and translucent. Strain and reserve the pearls. In a blender, puree the reserved artichoke cooking liquid and the mustard, then slowly stream in the olive oil to emulsify. The mixture should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Transfer to a saucepan over medium heat and stir in the tapioca until heated through. Reserve, kept warm. Just before serving, stir in the cilantro pistou and sliced cilantro.
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Fill one-third of a medium saucepan with canola oil and heat to 350°F. Allow the fish to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes, season on all sides with the olive oil and salt and pepper, and wrap individually with sheets of parchment paper. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake the fish for 6 to 7 minutes, until cooked through. Remove the parchment paper, sprinkle with lemon juice, and brush the tops of the fish with cilantro pistou.
Toss the lemon croquette squares in cornstarch until evenly coated and fry until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel–lined tray and sprinkle with salt.
In a medium sauté pan, heat the diced artichokes and fava beans in 3 tablespoons of the sauce; season with salt and pepper.
Strain the reserved artichoke slices.
For each serving, spoon 2 tablespoons of the artichoke–fava bean mixture onto the bottom of each plate. Top with a bass fillet and arrange 3 croquettes on top. Spoon a pool of sauce around the fish and arrange a few artichoke slices and leaves of micro cilantro on top.