Sophisticated Savories

Sophisticated Savories

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Just for the Halibut

Just for the Halibut

One of my favorite aspects of halibut? It's uncanny ability to develop a perfectly golden crust when seared on a non-stick saute pan. Do I always cook fish on a non-stick? No. However, if given the choice, I will sear fish on a non-stick saute (simply because fish are much more delicate that other meats... a non-stick will aid in keeping the fragile fillets from breaking apart).

Pan-seared Halibut with Roasted Root Vegetables, Edamame puree and Truffle-Chives/Sprouts/Green onions


Allow to rest at room temperate ten minutes before cooking. Dry both sides with a paper towel, then heat a medium-non-stick saute pan to a medium heat. Add almond oil and bring to a high heat. When the oil begins to smoke, quickly season the top of the halibut with salt and smokey paprika, then place in saute pan. Do not touch the fillet once it is cooking... if you disturb the seafood before it is ready to be flipped, you will risk breaking the fish from it's tight fillet shape. Simply be aware of the fish as it is cooking... you will be able to see the transition from opaque to flaky-white skin. After about 2-3 minutes, flip the fillet. Remember, the larger and thicker the fillet, the longer the cook time. At this point, remove the pan from the heat, but baste the fish with the excess oil (simply tilt the pan and collect the oil in a spoon... then gently pour over the fish multiple times). Although the pan is no longer on the direct heat source, the fish is continuing to cook due to 1) the basting process and 2) the carry-over heat. This method of cooking fish allows you to use a high heat in the beginning in order to attain a brilliant sear, but then finish in a slower cooking manner. Rather than simply placing the fish in an oven (much more likely to overcook), you essentially are "babysitting" the entire cooking process. However, the results are well worth the added efforts.

Trust me.

A little additional attention to detail makes all of the difference in the world. It means that you truly are cooking with love. And that, my dear friends, is the merit of a true chef.

Keeping it simple, roasted root veggies and an edamame puree only enhance the golden-crusted halibut.

Edamame puree
Place 2 cups edamame in boiling water and allow to cook for 5 minutes. Drain, then place in Vitamix blender/robocoup. *Reserve about 1 Tbsp of the edamame beans to be combined with the roasted root vegetables later. While blending, slowly drizzle 2 Tbsp almond oil, 1 Tbsp heavy cream, 2 tsp dried oregano and juice of 1/2 lemon. Season with salt and pepper... consistency will be thin, yet able to keep its shape when spread on a plate.

Roasted Root Veggies
Rutabaga and Butternut squash were on sale when I went to the grocery store earlier; ergo, purchased and used. When I work with butternut squash, I always use gloves when peeling (as it will often leave a sticky-residue on your hands). Peel both butternut squash and rutabaga, then chop into small dices (the smaller the cut, the "tighter" the final presentation will look). In a medium bowl, toss the diced rutabaga and butternut squash with EVOO, salt, pepper, juice of 1/2 lemon and sprinkle of herbs de Provence. Place on a baking sheet with parchment paper (will prevent from burning because the cuts are small and will cook quickly). Roast in a 400 degree oven for about 12-15 minutes (again, the smaller the cut, the faster the root veggies will cook). Once tender with a knife, remove from the oven and toss a few of the prior-blanched edamame beans into the mixture.

Truffle-Chives/Sprouts/Green onions
Be aware when using truffle-oil... because of its potency, only a touch is necessary when dressing the garnish. Too much will overpower and trump the entire dish. And that would be a fail. Simply add a small hand full of chives/sprouts/green onions to a small bowl, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, lemon juice and a drizzle of truffle oil. The purpose is to lightly dress the greens, as well as give them a shiny-luster from the oil.

When plating, keep the plate "tight and clean." Spoon a dollop of the edamame puree in the middle of a white plate, then add a small pile of the roasted root veggie/edamame beans. Carefully place the halibut atop the vegetables, then top with the Truffle-Chives/Sprouts/Green onions. A light drizzle of truffle oil around the fillet is the final necessary touch. Remember, before serving, be sure to have a damp napkin to wipe away finger prints.

Taking the time to nurture, build flavors, create texture profiles and ultimately make it beautiful... that is cooking with love.

“Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart... one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.” - Marvin J. Ashton


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