"Scott Suchman"
Striped Bass with Barbecued Hazelnuts, Cornbread Puree & Sorghum
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Striped Bass with Barbecued Hazelnuts, Cornbread Puree & Sorghum

Volt, Frederick, Maryland, Bryan Voltaggio, Range, Washington, D.C. / April 2013

For 6 servings (requires advance preparation)

Striped bass:

  • 1/2 Tbsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 Tbsp. ground fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2 Tbsps. black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2 lemon, zested
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • 1/2 Tbsp. oregano leaves
  • 1/2 Tbsp. piment d’Espelette
  • 1/4 tsp. celery seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme leaves
  • 6  4-oz. pieces striped bass
  1. Toast coriander, fennel, and allspice in small sauté pan set over medium heat until fragrant; remove from heat.

  2. Place spices in a processor; add all remaining ingredients except bass; process until spices are ground and herbs combined.

  3. Rub spice mixture over fish to cover; place remaining spice mixture in airtight container; cover; reserve; envelop fish in plastic wrap; reserve in refrigerator.

Barbecued hazelnuts:

  • 1 cup raw hazelnuts
  • 1 1/4 tsps. salt
  • 2 1/4 oz. Newsome’s hickory smoked country bacon, cut into sm. dice
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 med. onion, minced
  • 1 cup tomatoes, cut into sm. dice
  • 2 Tbsps. sorghum molasses
  1. Mix hazelnuts, salt, and 3 cups water in a large container; refrigerate overnight; place hazelnuts and soaking water in pressure cooker; set pressure to high; cook 30 minutes; release pressure manually (so hazelnuts remain whole); place hazelnuts and cooking liquid in a bowl; cool.

  2. Cook bacon in small skillet set over medium heat until meat begins to crisp and fat starts to render; add butter and onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion softens and just starts to caramelize; add tomatoes; cook until pan is almost dry; add hazelnut cooking liquid, sorghum molasses, and 2 tsps. reserved spice mixture; bring to a boil; reduce by 50 percent; add hazelnuts; cook until nuts are warmed through and glazed with sauce; remove from heat; reserve.

Cornbread:

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for pan, at room temperature
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsps. plus 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, grated on a Microplane
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsps. salt
  • 3/4 cup lg. eggs
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 1/2 tsps. honey
  • 2 1/2 tsps. maple syrup
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.

  2. Butter half baking sheet; reserve.

  3. Mix cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and nutmeg in a bowl until combined; reserve.

  4. Place 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. butter, sugar, and salt in the bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment; beat until light and fluffy; with motor running, add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition until just combined; add milk; mix well; mix in honey and maple syrup; reduce speed to low; add dry ingredients; mix until combined.

  5. Pour batter into reserved baking sheet; bake until brown and a tester inserted into center comes out clean (18 to 20 minutes); remove from oven; place on wire rack; cool; turn out of pan; cut cornbread into medium dice; place in airtight container; reserve.

Cornbread puree:

  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup corn stock
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Heat butter in large skillet set over medium heat until hot; add 1 3/4 cups diced cornbread; cook, stirring, occasionally, until brown; place cornbread in small saucepan; add stock and milk; bring to a boil; remove from heat; place in a blender; add salt; blend until smooth; place in small saucepan; reserve (keep warm).

Assembly:

  • 7 Tbsps. sorghum molasses
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 2 tsps. Banyuls vinegar
  • 3 3/4 tsps. soy sauce
  • 4 Tbsps. unsalted butter
  • grapeseed oil
  • salt
  • micro chives (for garnishing)
  1. Whisk sorghum molasses, vinegar, and soy sauce in small bowl; reserve.

  2. Heat reserved cornbread puree over medium heat; whisk in 1 Tbsp. butter; reserve (keep warm).

  3. Pour a film of oil just to cover bottom of large sauté pan set over medium-high heat; heat until hot; season bass; working in batches if needed, cook bass until almost cooked through; add remaining 3 Tbsps. butter; cook, basting fish with melted butter, until completely cooked through; using large spatula, place fillets on clean kitchen towel; reserve.

  4. To serve, place a pool of cornbread puree on each plate; spoon 2 Tbsps. barbecued hazelnuts off to one side of puree; place fish on top of hazelnuts; drizzle with sorghum vinaigrette; garnish with chives.

What to drink: Ridge Geyserville Sonoma County 2010