Corn-Crusted Tilefish with Achiote Shrimp

Ivy Stark

Dos Caminos, NYC

James Beard House featured chef Ivy Stark blends old world Mexican flavors with innovative preparations and seasonal ingredients in this satisfying corn-crusted tilefish recipe.


Green Rice:
  • 1/2 bunch basil, on stem
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, on stem
  • 1/2 bunch mint, on stem
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • 6 cups fresh corn kernels
  • 8 five-ounce filets of tilefish, red snapper, or sea bass with the pin-bones removed
  • 4 large, cold egg whites
  • About 3/4 cup Wondra flour
  • Blended oil or olive oil as needed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
Spicy Corn:
  • 1 tablespoon blended oil or olive oil
  • 3 cups fresh corn kernels
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • 1 Thai chile, stemmed seeded, and minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons blended oil or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon achiote paste


Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the basil, cilantro, and mint until bright green, about 20 seconds. Transfer to a blender with a few tablespoons of the cooking water and blend until pureed.

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the rice and herb paste mixture and stir to combine.

To roast the corn for the crust, spread 6 cups of corn kernels evenly on a dry sheet pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp and light brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

To make the spicy corn, heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 3 cups of raw corn, the jalapeño, Thai chile, and garlic and sauté until the corn is crisp-tender and any released by the corn has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and set aside.

To cook the fish, season generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Using a large whisk, beat the egg whites until they hold their shape, about 5 minutes. Set up your three-plate crusting station, putting some Wondra flour on the first plate, the egg whites on the second, and the roasted corn on the third. Season the roasted corn with salt and pepper.

In a large non-stick pan, heat enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan until hot. Begin dipping both sides of each piece of fish in the flour, then the whipped egg whites (there should be a coating of white foam), and then press the fish into the seasoned, roasted corn so that the kernels stick in a single layer. When the pan is very hot, gently place each filet in the pan, letting the crust sizzle. (Note: Don’t overcrowd the pan, as this will cause the crust to be soggy rather than crisp. If necessary, cook fish in two batches.) Depending on the thickness of your fillets, flip them over after 2 to 3 minutes, then cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes on the other side. The fish should be just opaque in the center.

To cook the shrimp, heat another sauté pan over medium heat. Toss the shrimp with oil and achiote paste. When the pan is hot, sauté the shrimp until they are opaque, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the spicy corn mixture to the pan to reheat.

To plate, put a spoonful of rice on each plate, then place two fish filets on top of the rice, top with the spicy corn and a few shrimp.


4 servings