Once again, I've been away for a while. I'm just going to have to accept that I'm not one of those weekly blogger types. Aside from my general lack of discipline, part of the problem is that I have too many damned interests that occupy my time.
One that has kept busy lately is fishing. May is the all too brief hailbut fishing season here in Washington state and I've been getting out on the boat whenever I can arrange it, trying to catch one of these elusive beasts.
Last Saturday, I finally succeeded and caught my first hailibut: a 35 pounder.
Anyone who knows me on social media has already seen this photo, because I've been plastering it up everywhere and even now have it as my userpic on both twitter & facebook. Hey, bragging about the fish you caught is one of those things that make life worth living, is it not? ;)
Well, bragging about it, and then eating it. Speaking of which...
Halibut is my absolute favorite fish and the last thing I want to do is cover-up its delicate flavor. But, I still wanted to have some fun and add a little complexity to the dish.
Nice clean citrus flavors really complement halibut without overpowering it. I got my hands on some really beautiful blood oranges and couldn't resist making a salsa out of them.
However I also wanted to add a little decadent richness, so I layered in a charred onion butter sauce.
The result was a fun mixture of flavors & textures that still allowed the halibut to be the star of the show.
Pan Seared Halibut with Charred Onion Buerre Blanc & Blood Orange Salsa
3 medium blood oranges, cut into clean segments,
½ of one mango, peeled and diced
¼ red onion, sliced thinly
2 tbs chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & finely chopped
pinch of salt
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Combine all the ingredients for the salsa in a small mixing bowl. You should also squeeze in any excess juice from the oranges membrane. Allow this to rest for at least 20 minutes.
The mango is optional but it adds a degree of hardiness to the salsa that I really like.
Charred Onion Buerre Blanc
1 cup dry white wine
juice & zest of 1 lemon
2 tbs heavy cream
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cubed
½ medium onion, charred over flame or grill, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the white wine and lemon juice in a non-reactive saucepan over high heat and reduce to 2 tablespoons.
Add the cream to the reduction. Reduce it by half then turn the heat to very low. Add the butter, one cube at a time, shaking the pan, adding more butter as the previous one melts. Continue adding butter into the reduction until the mixture is fully emulsified and has reached a rich sauce consistency. Mix in the diced onion and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat but keep warm until ready to serve.
The Fish & the Finish
4 portions of cut halibut filet
2 tbs canola or light olive oil
pinch of salt & pepper
Dab any excess moisture off the outside of the halibut fillets with a paper towel and season them with the salt and pepper.
Heat a heavy bottomed pan, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat. Add in the oil and allow it to heat up, but do not let it get so hot it starts to smoke.
Cook the halibut in the pan so that it's nicely seared on the outside and cooked to your preference within.
Serve the halibut topped with a couple spoonfuls of butter sauce and a liberal portion of the salsa.
As you can see from the picture, I had mine with a little basmati rice pilaf; steam basmati rice with sauteed bell peppers and shiitake mushrooms.
If it looks like there are peppers both on top as well as in the rice, that's because the mango got colored red by the blood orange juice.