Fat. A word loaded with possibilities and meanings. Some good: "fat of the land". Some not so: "fat America". Some that inspire awe and reverence: "bacon fat" and "butter fat". The last two are part of the raison d'etre for Jennifer McLagan's book, titled simply, and deliciously, "Fat". My friend DOR, knowing where my passions lie, recently gifted me with this tantalizing tome and I have been drooling ever since. There are so many temptations contained within these pages that it was hard to pick a starting point. With fish on w's mind this day, I chose McLagan's "Prosciutto-Wrapped Halibut with Sage Butter", I suppose partly for the ability it gave me to rationalize that a healthy piece of wild caught fish would more than counteract any negative effects from 1/2 a stick of butter and four slices of cured pork product (I downsized the recipe below for the two of us). Good thinking, huh?
So it was that I prepared these gifts from the earth, and thus were we made happy, as if it were God's will. Beyond that faux-religiosity, this was one kick ass piece of fish. "Kick ass" probably doesn't do it justice. Sumptuous comes to mind. Luxurious. Or the highest accolade of dinner party worthy! This is a tremendously good plate of food, the prosciutto di parma working it's wonders, the lemony-buttery sage sauce providing decadently savory pleasure, and the fried sage leaves adding their own taste/textural delight. This pleases on so many levels, it really is remarkable. Your mouth will thank you for every bite!
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Prosciutto-Wrapped Halibut with Sage Butter
Six 6-ounce skinless halibut fillets
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
36 fresh sage leaves
8-10 slices prosciutto (McLagan called for six in her recipe, but just in case they don't wrap all the way, it's best to have extra. Besides, you can eat any leftovers!-bb)
2 large lemons
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
1-preheat oven to 400*. Season fillets with salt and pepper. Place 2 sage leaves on top of each fillet and then wrap each with a slice of prosciutto. The prosciutto will form a belt, enclosing the leaves but leaving the ends exposed. Cut 12 slices 1/4" thick from center of lemons, reserving the ends for their juice.
2-On a rimmed baking sheet, arrange pairs of lemon slices, slightly overlapping. Place a wrapped fillet on top of each pair of lemon slices. Bake the fish until it flakes and is opaque at its thickest part, 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.
3-While the fish is cooking melt the butter in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the remaining 24 sage leaves and cook, turning once or twice until crisp and the butter begins to brown, about 7 or 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and add salt and the juice from the remaining lemon ends.
4-transfer the fish and the lemon slices to warmed plates. Pour any juices released from the fish into the sage butter sauce and pour the sauce over the fish. Serve immediately.
Cooks note: make sure all your fillets are of a similar size and thickness so they will cook at the same rate.