Manhattan Runner-Up: Seared Striped Bass With A Corn And Bacon Cream Sauce

NY Daily News - October 27, 2009

by William Benitez - LADDER 1

"I went fishing with a few guys from the firehouse and caught a lot of fish," said William Benitez, "so we decided to cook it for dinner." Recipe: Seared Striped Bass with a Corn and Bacon Cream Sauce Serves: 8 Prep Time: 85

Ingredients

Equipment: Grill pan, saute pan, blender, medium-sized pot, fine mesh strainer, ricer or food mill

2 pounds striped bass fillets cut into 8 (4-ounce) portions
1/2 pound bacon
2 shallots
1 large bag of frozen corn kernels
1 stick (4 ounces) butter
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 roasted garlic cloves (cooked for 15 minutes in 350-degree oven or browned over low heat in a lightly greased skillet until soft)
1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 box grape tomatoes cut in half and tossed with 4 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, sliced fresh basil and salt and pepper

Instructions

First, catch your bass! Season fillets with salt and pepper. Cook skin side down in non-stick or lightly greased saute pan on medium high heat for 4-5 minutes until crispy. Flip and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove and set aside. Keep warm.

Render bacon until crisp and remove from pan. Drain off most of grease; add shallots, corn and 1 tablespoon butter. Cook 4-5 minutes. Add chicken stock and cream and reduce over high heat for 5 minutes. Add roasted garlic and puree sauce in a blender until smooth. Return sauce to saute pan. Over low heat, add cilantro. Stir in cold butter cut into small pieces and crumbled bacon. Keep warm. Serve fillets over whipped potatoes, topped with sauce and dressed grape tomatoes.