Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Heavenly Halibut!

I've always been one of those people who say, "I really need to eat more fish." The problem is, one look at that meaty, bloody red rib eye in my butcher's case, or a fleeting thought of bacon-cheeseburgers, and I'm running out to the grill, hunk of meat in hand, all too ready to succumb to millenia of evolution. But last night, more because of the rain that was steadily falling here rather than any will to actually improve my diet, I grabbed a couple of halibut filets from the meat case at our market, which were fortunately located far enough away from the steaks so I could ignore their siren call.

Since grilling wasn't an option as I didn't want to schlep the Weber up to the covered part of our porch, I checked online for inspiration, and came across what seemed to be a perfectly delicious, seasonal halibut preparation at epicurious. Cooked in my big sauté pan, which is always a bonus, because since I'm not a "power tool guy" I get my fix from heavy cookware. Anyway, to cut to the chase, this was a super simple recipe that has instantly found a place in our regular repertoire. Throw a couple pieces of this halibut on your plates with some rainbow chard or other greens, a scoop of rice, and in less than 30 minutes start to finish you'll have yet another silly smile on your face!

Oh, and as for drinking material, we had a super chilled bottle of 2005 Loimer Gruner-Veltliner, a fresh, dry, crisp, vibrant white from Austria that was the total deal with the fish, matching up perfectly to the sweet cherry tomatoes and savory olive flavors in the sauce. Okay, now you're set...the rest is up to you!

Halibut With Capers, Olives, And Tomatoes
Serve the fish and sauce over rice or couscous

4 6- to 7-ounce halibut fillets

All purpose flour

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 large shallots, chopped

1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

2 cups cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, divided

1 tablespoon drained capers

1/3 cup bottled clam juice

1/4 cup dry white wine

Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish and sauté until lightly browned and just opaque in center, about 3 to 3-1/2 minutes per side. Transfer fish to platter. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in same skillet. Add shallots and crushed red pepper; sauté 1 minute. Mix in tomatoes, olives, 1/4 cup basil, and capers. Add clam juice and wine. Boil until sauce thickens slightly, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in 1/4 cup basil. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over fish.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Bon Appetit

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