I love halibut! And what better time to have such a delicious, summery dish than when summer’s decided to disappear and the rain once again returned to Vancouver. But I won’t complain, looks like the sun will be back soon enough, just in time for the weekend!
I’m also a huge fan of peas, and this mint, spinach and pea purée was so fresh and tasty, it really balanced well with the halibut.
2 6oz halibut fillets
1 tsp thinly sliced flat leaf parsley
1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp lemon zest (I use my microplane, make you life easy and if you don’t have one already, get one!)
1 cup frozen peas (you can use fresh, but why bother, the frozen petit pois are delish, cheaper and hassle free)
1/3 cup frozen peas – to add at finish
1 cup fresh pea shoots/sprouts/tendrils
¾ cup (packed) fresh spinach leaves
¼ cup (packed) fresh mint leaves
2 tsp vegetable oil
Generous pinch sugar
Maldon salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
Preserved Lemon Salsa
1 preserved lemon (I got mine from Whole Foods, any Mediterranean market should carry them also)
4 tsp finely chopped shallot
1 Tbsp champagne vinegar
Pinch of Maldon salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 tsp thinly sliced flat leaf parsley
¾ tsp honey
Sprinkle the fish with the parsley, thyme and lemon zest. Cover and chill, min 2hrs.
Prepare a large bowl with ice bath. Fill a large pot with salted boiling water; blanch peas for 1 min, or until cooked. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cooked peas to ice bath. Blanch spinach and mint in the same pot of boiling water, 5 – 10 seconds. Transfer to ice bath with peas. Reserve ½ cup ice water. Drain pea mixture. Purée mixture in a blender, adding reserved ice water if mixture is too thick. Add oil and sugar; purée. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour into saucepan for reheating later.
Cut peel from the flesh of the preserved lemon and thinly slice. If you can’t find a preserved lemon, regular lemon zest will suffice. Put shallot, vinegar and pinch of salt in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add sliced peel, oil, parsley and honey; whisk to blend. Season lemon salsa with salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 375°. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp butter in non-stick frying pan. On medium high heat, pan sear the halibut, skin side up, for 2 min. Flip to the skin side down and transfer pan into oven for 5 min, or until fish is cooked to your liking. Remember, the fish will continue to cook after you’ve removed it from the oven!
Rewarm purée over medium heat. Stir in peas; cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add pea tendrils; stir until wilted, about 1 minute. Divide mixture between 2 warmed plates. Top with halibut and lemon salsa.
(Adapted from Bon Appetit June 2011)