Wild Striped Bass with Sweet Corn Chowder
Sepia - Chicago, IL
Savor the taste of summer’s first corn with this satisfying chowder.
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 8 ears sweet corn, husked
- 3 stalks celery, diced, divided
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced, divided
- 2 leeks, white part only, diced, divided
- 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme, divided
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 pounds young potatoes, such as fingerling or German butterball, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 16 peeled pearl onions
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper
- Four 6-ounce wild striped bass fillets, skin on
Bring the cream to a boil in a small pot. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Reserve.
Cut the kernels off the ears of corn, reserving the cobs. Set aside two thirds of the corn kernels. In an 8-quart stockpot, combine the remaining kernels with the cobs, half of the diced celery, half of the carrots, half of the leeks, half of the onions, 2 sprigs of thyme, and the bay leaf. Cover with water by about 2 inches and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 40 minutes. Strain the corn stock and discard the solids.
Wash out the stockpot and add 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Heat over medium until shimmering. Add the remaining celery, carrots, leeks, onions, and reserved corn kernels. Add a pinch of salt and sauté until the vegetables begin to soften, about 7 minutes. Add the corn stock, remaining thyme, potatoes, pearl onions, and reserved cream. Simmer until the potatoes are tender. Add the chopped parsley, taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season the bass fillets with salt and pepper. Put the fillets skin side down in the pan. Cook until the fish is cooked two thirds of the way through, about 7 minutes. Flip and continue cooking just until cooked through, about another 3 minutes.
To serve, spoon some chowder into bowls. Top each serving of chowder with a bass fillet, skin side up.