Striped Bass with Succotash and Creamy Corn Purée
- 8 ears fresh sweet corn
- 4 ounces locally-sourced bacon, preferably applewood-smoked, sliced
- 6 ounces (12 tablespoons) butter, divided
- 1 large red onion, diced
- 4 cups fresh lima beans, blanched in salted boiling water until just tender, drained, then doused in ice water and drained again
- 4 cups of colorful assorted tomatoes (sweet cherries, heirlooms), cut bite sized
- leaves from a few large sprigs fresh basil
- 6 ounces (3/4 cup) canola or grapeseed oil
- 2 pounds fresh striped bass fillet, skin on, in four portions
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- kosher salt, to taste
Cut the kernels from the ears of corn, and set aside. Squash the corncobs compactly in a large pot and just cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Cook the bacon in a saucepan over medium low heat. When it is cooked but not very crisp, add 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) of the butter, and about half of the corn kernels, reserving the other half for the succotash. Season with a pinch of salt and continue cooking slowly for about ten minutes. Strain in enough of your corn stock to just cover the corn and bacon. (That’s all the corn stock you’ll need for this dish, but you can save the remainder for another purpose.) Simmer the corn and bacon mixture for another 20 minutes. Purée in a blender or food processor, then press through a chinois, sieve, or food mill for smoothest texture. Set aside and keep warm.
For the succotash, melt the remaining 4 ounces butter (8 tablespoons) in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the red onion and cook very slowly until translucent. Add the remainder of the corn and cook a few minutes before tossing in the limas and tomatoes. Simmer together a few minutes while you turn your attention to the fish.
Heat a large heavy bottomed stainless steel or cast iron pan (or two, if necessary to accommodate the fish fillets) until it is hotter than you think it should be. Season the fish with salt and add the oil to the pan. Slowly and gently lay the fish skin side down in the pan. Turn the heat down a bit and allow time for the skin to get crispy, about four to five minutes. Turn the fish and finish cooking for another minute or two. Tear up the basil and add it to the succotash just before serving each fillet paired with the corn purée and succotash.