Striped Bass with Roasted Tomatillo Sauce - Dennis UT

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Corn Flake-Crusted Striper Fillets with Roasted Tomatillo Sauce and Fried Corn


½ cup flour Salt 2 large eggs 7 oz corn flakes Six 5-6 ounce skinless Lake Powell striped bass fillets 1 pound (10-12 medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed Fresh hot green chiles to taste (roughly 3 serranos or 1 jalapeno, stemmed) 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 medium white onion, sliced 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped 2 cups light fish or chicken broth 2/3 cup loosely packed, chopped fresh cilantro, plus a few sprigs for garnish 2 cups fresh corn kernels Vegetable oil ¼” deep in pan for frying the fillets

1. Breading the fish. Spread the flour on a deep plate, then stir in ½ teaspoon salt. Break the eggs onto another deep plate and add 3 tablespoons water and ½ teaspoon salt. Beat with a fork until completely liquid. Spread the corn flakes on a third plate, then use the back of a measuring cup to gently break them into ¼ inch pieces. Dredge all sides of 1 fish fillet in the flour, then lay it in the egg mixture. Use a large fork to flip it over, then carefully transfer the drippy piece of fish to the plate of corn flakes. Sprinkle flakes from the dish over the top of the fish and press them in firmly; the fish should be thoroughly coated with flakes. Transfer to another plate or baking sheet, then “bread” the remaining fillets. Refrigerate uncovered for at least 1 hour, or up to 6 hours.

2. The Sauce. Roast the tomatillos and chiles on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler until darkly roasted, even blacked in spots, about 5 minutes. Flip them over and roast the other side 5 minutes until the tomatillos and chiles are splotchy black and blistered. Cool, then transfer everything to a food processor or blender, being careful to scrape up all the delicious juice that has run out onto the baking sheet. Process until smoothly pureed. Set a heavy medium (4-quart) saucepan over medium heat and measure in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring regularly, until richly golden, about 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for a minute longer. Raise the heat to medium-high, and when the oil is really sizzling add the tomatillo puree all at once. Stir until noticeably darker and very thick, 3-4 minutes. Add the broth and 1/3 cup of the cilantro. Stir everything thoroughly. Simmer, stirring often over medium-low heat until the flavors mellow and the consistency thickens enough to lightly coat a spoon, about 30 minutes. Taste and season with salt, usually about ¾ teaspoon. Keep warm over low heat.

3. Finishing the dish. In a medium skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium. When hot, add the corn and stir frequently until nicely browned, 5-10 minutes. Sweet corn will be a little chewy, field corn will be quite chewy, meaning you may want to dribble a little water in the pan to steam the kernels to a bit more tenderness. Set aside in the pan. Turn on the oven to the lowest setting. Heat ¼ inch of vegetable oil in a large heavy skillet to 350 degrees. Fry the fillets in two batches (they shouldn’t be crowded in the pan or they won’t crust and brown nicely). They’ll need to cook about 2 minutes per side to brown and be done enough to flake under firm pressure. Carefully transfer the first batch of cooked fillets to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you’re frying the second batch. Spoon the warm sauce (thin it with a little water if it has thickened) onto a deep warm platter and arrange the crusty fish fillets slightly overlapping down the center. Sprinkle the whole affair with the corn (reheat if it has cooled) and the remaining 1/3 cup cilantro. Garnish with the cilantro sprigs.

Hints: This can be time-consuming to make, so make the sauce and corn the day before, stored separately in the fridge, and rewarmed before serving.
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