When Jeff McInnis–the chef at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar in Miami Beach–isn’t cooking, he’s likely fishing. In this recipe, the Florida native combines his passions, creating a summertime symphony on the plate. At Yardbird, McInnis uses Arctic char, but any fresh fish will shine here, even a lunker bass.
– 6 Arctic char or salmon fillets, about 5 oz. each
– Kernels from 15 ears of fresh corn (cut off the raw cob)
– 1⁄2 cup champagne (nothing too pricey)
– 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
– 1 cup diced carrots
– 3 ears corn on the cob
– 2 cups baby lima beans
– 1⁄4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. olive oil
– 1 cup thinly sliced leeks, white part only
– 1 bay leaf
– 3 fresh thyme sprigs
– 1 large tomato, seeded and diced small
– Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1. Make the sauce: Place the corn kernels in a blender and puree about a minute until very smooth. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl and pour in the puree. Press on the pulp to extract as much juice as possible. Discard the pulp. Add the corn juice and champagne to a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes, or until it thickens almost to the consistency of pudding. (The sauce at the bottom may appear slightly scorched; keep stirring and things will be O.K.) Reduce the heat to low and stir in the butter one piece at a time, to form a silky sauce. Remove from the heat; the natural cornstarch will thicken. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
2. Make the succotash: Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the carrots, and cook for about 3 minutes, or until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl of ice water. Add the corn, and remove when the water returns to a boil, in about 3 minutes. Set the corn aside and add the lima beans to the same water. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain, and set the lima beans aside. Cut the kernels off the corncobs and discard the cobs.
3. Heat 1⁄4 cup olive oil in a large, shallow saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and saute for a few minutes. Using butcher twine, tie up the bay leaf with the thyme sprigs to form a kind of bouquet, and add to the pan. Add the reserved carrots, lima beans, and corn along with the tomatoes, and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until just warmed through, remove the herbs, cover, and remove from the heat.
4. Cook the fish: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly oil the fillets with the remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place the fish on a thin cedar plank and bake for 7 to 9 minutes, depending on its thickness.
5. To serve, spoon a generous portion of succotash onto the plates, top with the fish, and torch (see below).
Time for the Torch
Brush each fillet with the corn sauce. Using a kitchen torch, lightly brown the sauce, as you would a creme brulee. Alternatively, brush the fillets with corn sauce while they’re still on the plank and place them under a broiler, very close to the heat. Remove when the sauce has browned.