Friday, August 13, 2010

Pan Seared & Roasted Halibut, Summer Garden Succotash and Yellow Lemon Rice

As a kid, I disliked fish.   My mother, in her true German way, loved to cook whole trout and serve it to us this way.  When you're young, if it doesn't look like fish sticks and isn't served with tater tots-- well, a fish with cooked eyeballs looking up at me is about as disgusting as you can get.  I refused to eat it. Period.

I avoided fish at all costs, until my early thirties.  That's when I discovered Petrale Sole.  It was a whole new world!  I have also learned to appreciate fresh salmon and fresh tilapia.  I've also discovered that fresh trout, sans eyeballs, is a very tasty fish.  My favorite way to prepare fish is to sear and roast it (grilling it comes in second).  I love the flavorful crust that develops on high heat on a stove, and then is roasted perfectly to present moist and tender fish.   Ever since I watched "Food Inc." I have decided to spend a few extra dollars to buy fresh and non-farmed fish.  I decided to splurge and buy fresh Pacific (Alaskan) halibut, at my local fish market, which is considered to be the best sustainable choice-- @$17.00 a pound. Ouch.  "How long ago was this halbut swimming off Alaskan waters?", I asked.
"Two days ago", he replied.
"I sure hope so", I thought to myself.


When I arrived home, I opened the packaged and sniffed the fish.  Nothing.  This is good!  Fresh fish shouldn't  stink "smell" like fish.  To keep things simple, I reached for my can of "Old Bay Seasoning" and preheated the oven to 400F.  I grabbed my favorite cast iron skillet, added a little olive oil and heated the pan until the oil just began to ripple and smoke...

I left the fish to sear for about 3 minutes, without moving it around.  By lifting a corner, I could see that I was achieving that beautiful brown sear.  I flipped the halibut and put the entire pan into the oven.  I started the side dish while the halibut was searing...

I originally wanted to make a zucchini gratin. However, our squash isn't quite ready. We're having an unually cool summer with less sunshine that usual.  Our tomatoes are behind schedule, but they are showing promise.  I picked the few cherry, Sweet 100's and pear tomatoes that I could find.  I found one zucchini squash that was ready to cook.


So I pondered what to do with these....


I spotted two ears of corn a friend had given me from her CSA box.  In the bowl  have fresh corn, zucchini and tomatoes.
I decided to slice a vidalia onion I had, on hand.  I drizzled the vegetables with olive oil, kosher salt & fresh cracked pepper....


...and I set the whole pan into the oven, next to the roasting halibut.  You could cook the succotash entirely on the stove top, if you prefer.

 It took about 5-6 more minutes for the fish to reach an internal temperature of 145F.

On a whim, I added a bit of dried thyme (fresh would have been great) and then a little bit of freshly grated romano cheese.  Traditional succotash, I know, is made with corn and beans...and even some heavy cream.  This version is much healthier and took about 10 minutes for the cherries to pop.  They were ready.

 For "Yellow Rice", I rinsed white rice, added about 1/4 tsp of tumeric, used half chicken broth and half water. When the rice was ready,

...I added some lemon zest and squeezed lemon juice and gently blended. You can add fresh herbs and even peas.  It's inexpensive to make, and the color is really pretty. This dinner was ready in less than 45 minutes.

I served a chilled bottle of white wine, and the two of us had a quiet and romantic dinner at home.


VERDICT:  Halibut is currently my favorite fish.  This fish is very mild, and was moist and perfectly cooked.  The succotash was so delicious, if I do say so myself.  There is something to be said when you can enjoy vegetables that were freshly picked from your own backyard!  We grow most of our vegetables in containers, and I encourage anyone to try this.  As for the fish-- it was well worth the price I paid.  It feels good to support my local fish monger, and I truly could taste the difference from farm-raised not-so-fresh fish.  My childhood aversion to fish is gone.

This dinner would have cost, easily, $50.00 in a restaurant.  Of course, the dishes don't wash themselves.  Fortunately, my husband is great about helping with that.

That's what I call a Date Night!  I cook. He cleans.  Then, we cuddle and watch a movie at home.

No recipe card for the fish is needed, don't you think This is all technique, and not being afraid to use herbs and seasonings. The side dish recipe cards are below.

 Happy Summer!





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19 comments:

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Halibut is one of my favorite fishes too, and like you, I'll only buy wild fish. I ate a ton of it on our recent trip to Alaska. I love what you did with the fish and with the sides.

Stacey Snacks said...

This dish has my name all over it!
I LOVE halibut and that succotash is certainly not sufferin' !

TKW said...

Halibut is also my favorite, hands down. It's not cheap, but boy, is it good. This meal looks like a winner from every angle.

Big Dude said...

Great looking plate and I like the creativity of your succotash

Chiara "Kika" Assi said...

I hated fish as a kid for the same reasons you did... and I had to be in my twenties and move to a different continent to change my mind! Still, I prefer fish that doesn't taste too much like fish, so halibut ranks pretty high with me! Love the succotash by the way!

Joanne said...

I try my best to get wild fish but as I'm a poor med student, sometimes I just can't justify the splurge. That's when I make beans instead. Halibut's a favorite and I love how simply you prepared it!

Megan said...

It blows me away how much fresh fish is, even on the coast! But this meal looks and sounds very tasty!
Maybe someday we can meet at the CIA and take a demo together. Better yet, maybe even do a hands on class. That would be a blast.:)

The Bitch Stopped Cooking said...

Oh, this is gorgeous! I love your photos. You are so lucky to have all of those local vegetables!

Thanks for sharing!

Chef Dennis said...

what a perfect plate!! your halibut looks delicious and I love the succotash!

Mary said...

Debbie, this is a wonderful looking dish. As usual, your instructions are clear and make it possible for novice cooks to make this successfully. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

Carla and Michael said...

Halibut is my favorite fish. I have the same tomatoes growing in containers here in N.C. so I'll have to give your succotash a try. Sounds like a lovely date night to me.
Thanks.

bellini valli said...

Lemon, meaty halibut, corn and tomatoes..this dish has my number.

Kim said...

Wow Debby! You certainly created a wonderful and beautiful plate of food. And, you are definitely right about it costing at least $50 at a restaurant. I haven't tried halibut, but did a similiar prepartion with grouper this weekend. I'm growing to like fish more and more and wish there were more great places to buy it from. Living in landlocked KY doesn't translate well for buying fresh fish :(

Robin said...

Debby, It doesn't matter what you are making, every time I visit, I get great ideas, want to cook, want to eat, want, want, want!!!

Your blog is wonderful! You should hear this on a daily basis. :)

Jen_from_NJ said...

What a lovely dish! Wild fish is more expensive but I think that it is worth it. Your sides look fantastic too!

Proud Italian Cook said...

I watched Food Inc. too and it's definitely changed my way of thinking on alot of things. This meal is healthy and delicious looking Deb, I love the succotash!

Monica H said...

This couldn't be simpler, and yet it is so satisfying. Halibut is one of my favorites too because of it'sbig meaty flakes. yum.

Salsa Verde said...

I love halibut and your recipe is so colourful and full of flavours!
Cheers,
Lia.

Mario said...

I am with you on the eyeballs. Your cooking and photos is an artform in itself besides probably tasty to boot. Halibut is so healthy.