Halibut, much overlooked and little understood

Phone rings, door chimes, in comes company!!! Here are two surprisingly simple dishes, very different from one another, that work well for both a weekday dinner and for company.
No longer an overlooked fish, halibut now appears on the menus of top restaurants from London to Los Angeles. As far as the “fishiness factor” goes, halibut also has a really mild fish flavour, making it the perfect seafood choice if you’re not really into that strong fishy taste. This also makes it the perfect fish to play around with good seasoning .My first recipe, an Asian Teryaki halibut baked in a parcel, offers the chance for just that. The mild flavour of the halibut is a natural for teriyaki's garlic, soy and sesame flavour .My  first attempt at this was disappointing. We found the halibut was a little insipid and lacking that je ne sais quoi....pas? I passed round the jug of remaining Teryaki sauce ,but quite honestly it did not make that much difference. A good cook should never blame his ingredients but in this case, I am sorry ,but I have to  blame the teryaki. Then along came Emeril Lagasse and I was given a reprieve. Now if you cant trust the recipe of an American celebrity chef, (and I need to give full disclosure here), restaurateur, television personality, cookbook author, and James Beard award winner then you are in trouble .Lagasse worked in a Portuguese bakery (I rest my case) as a teenager where he discovered his talent for cooking and subsequently enrolled in a vocational culinary arts course.The rest is history. Having secured this recipe, I am never going to buy bottled teriyaki sauce again. Not that I ever did!!! There is absolutely no reason to spend the money or to settle for a product that is less than perfect. But truly, any way you look at it, with this recipe for Teryaki it makes this a dish fit for the Gods. It’s simple. It’s delicious and its right up there, Asian but with an inspired New Orleans twist to it. 

TIP: Make the sauce, but at least double the recipe. This is truly the teriyaki sauce you have always dreamed of. But if you are like me, never quite achieved

Asian Teryaki Halibut en papillote   Serves 2

4 – 12” X 12” Foil Squares
1/3 cup medium dry sherry
½ cup. soy sauce
2 cups of brightly coloured julienned vegetables
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp. minced ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
pinch cayenne
2 (4-6-oz.) halibut fillets
shredded spring onions, as garnish

Combine the sherry, soy sauce, sugar, ginger, garlic, and cayenne in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until reduced to a syrup like consistency, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat. (Don’t reduce too much.)Pour a thin layer of the sauce/syrup in the bottom of a lightly greased baking pan. Place the halibut fillets skin side up in the sauce. Marinate for 1 hour.
Pre-heat oven to 400 F /200C
Grease one side of 2 of the foil squares.
Place one of the foil squares on a work surface and place the colorful vegetables in the centre.Transfer the halibut fillets to top of the vegetables,and spoon over a generous coating of the teryaki to the top of the halibut.

Bake the halibut in the pre-heated  oven for 12-15 minutes or until the flesh is opaque and the internal temperature has reached 140 degrees. Remove from oven and serve in the parcels open, garnished with Spring onions or cucumber strips. Pass the remaining
teriyaki sauce around the table.
Second up, light and refreshing, this grilled halibut has the simple, delicate flavours of lemon and basil. Serve over a bed of rice, cous cous or pair with grilled vegetables. 

This next offering is a great way to enjoy fish any day of the week. Topped with my salsa verde, the halibut is perfectly tender and flaky without coming off the grill dry and bland. Salsa verde is simple enough not to overwhelm the mild flavour of the halibut while adding an herbaceous kick to it. Bonus level? It’s ready in less than 30 minutes. Halibut is great fish to cook on the grill because it is not too delicate. It is a medium firm white fish, so you don’t have to worry about it falling apart on the grill mid-cook.
This serves beautifully and is citrusy, garlicky, and oh-so delicious. (These are words, right?). It’s an easy to make, simple, fast dinner, with prep time and cooking time clocking in in less than a half an hour (here’s looking at you, busy buddies). Plus, we all know the health benefits of fish, right? So consider this a nice break from those days of non-stop red meat consumption.If you’re a red meat fiend however, you’re in luck. Halibut is a dense fish, so it almost eats like a steak. It’s good and hearty and still melts in your mouth like you’d expect from fish, but with a nice, robust texture. It’s going to fill you up and leave you more than satisfied.

 

Grilled halibut with salsa verde 
and roasted garden tomatoes
Serves 2

2 x 4-6 oz skinless halibut fillets
salt and pepper to taste


Salsa verde
2 small packs flat-leaf parsley
30g wild garlic (or 2 garlic cloves)
3 tsp Dijon mustard
40g small capers , drained, rinsed and roughly chopped
200ml extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp sherry vinegar

Chop the herbs and garlic, mixing with 1 tsp sea salt, until very fine. Add the mustard and capers, and combine. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the olive oil. Add the vinegar, little by little, stirring and tasting carefully as you go – trust your palate!

Preheat your grill 375 degrees F.
Place the halibut fillet in a shallow baking dish. Combine all of the ingredients for the butter in a small bowl and pour over your halibut fillets.
Gently toss the fillet to ensure all sides are evenly coated in the butter. Season all sides with freshly cracked pepper and salt.
Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil. Pinch the paper towel between tongs and wipe it on the grates of your grill to prevent the halibut from sticking while it grills.
Place the seasoned halibut directly on the grill grates. Close the lid and grill for 5-7 minutes. Flip them, close the lid, and grill until the internal temperature of the halibut reads 145 degrees F. You want your fish to be opaque and just start to flake.
Remove the grilled halibut from the grill. Serve hot with lemon wedges.

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