Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘halibut’

Sri Lankan Fish “Stew”

On bleak and chilly days, before the Spring, and before the Spring-runs of salmon – which is generally when we’re craving it most we buy a frozen salmon fillet and this is one of our favorite ways to prepare it.  (The salmon remains tender, succulent, moist – if you hadn’t bought it yourself, you wouldn’t know it was frozen.) This dish is savory, sour-sweet (thanks to the tamarind),  warmly and mildly spicy, and coconut-milk-creamy…and, as a bonus, it’s an incredibly healthy meal.

A note on the SPICES:  (I like to use whole seeds when I can, and dry-roasting them brings out their “sweetness” and adds another dimension of flavor to a dish. Besides that, spices you buy already-ground have started to lose some of their potency by the time they make it to your spice cupboard. But if you don’t want to make the purchase and you already have the ground spices on hand, by all means, simply cut in half the quantity of seeds specified below as your guide.)

Sri Lankan Fish Stew

(this should serve at least 4)

  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • ¼ teaspoon fennel seed
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • scant 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 Italian plum tomatoes chopped (+ 1 more for garnish, or cherry tomatoes, chopped)
  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk (13½ ounce or 420 ml)
  • 1 Tablespoon tamarind paste, dissolved in 3 Tbl. warm water
  • 1¾ teaspoon teaspoon sugar
  • salt (to taste)
  • 2 pounds (1 kg) salmon (halibut, or sea bass fillets)
  • small bunch cilantro leaves, torn – as garnish
  • Cooked rice, to ladle the stew over. (Basmati is wonderful with this.)

Drop the coriander, cumin and fennel seeds, along with the peppercorns, into a small skillet, using no oil. Place over medium heat and toast the seeds & peppercorns until seeds have begun to release their aroma and have turned a toasty brown, stirring or shaking the pan often. Remove the skillet from the heat and allow to cool for just a minute then grind finely with mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder.

Measure out the other spices and have them ready to add all at once.

Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise – squeeze and shake over sink to release most of their seeds. Then chop.

Read more

the art of surrender

It’s not as I expected…but just as I expected.

I expected hordes of people passing through our house. I knew the messes were inevitable. I knew that clouds of dust would find their way into small hidden spaces and loud noises would ring throughout the day. I knew that keeping our dogs smiling would require extra love. I knew too that without a kitchen, life would be interesting. I was ready for all that, and even my husband would attest that I’ve been quite the good sport through all most of it. But I imagined  that I could cook and I could then post what we ate for dinner. How hard could that be?

Hmmm.

As you’ve noticed, I’ve gone silent.

It’s not from lack of intention or interest. Life – moving throughout the day – just takes far more of me during this remodel than I ever imagined. It’s been good, but it’s been complicated. It’s been fun, but it’s been challenging. It’s been exhilarating and occasionally it’s been exhausting.

I used to read in the mornings, but reading has stopped. I exercised often. That was then. I corresponded with friends and family. Now it’s howdy waves in passing or texts with lots of code talk. Leaving all rhythms behind can be frustrating, and all the more so the tighter we hold.

I knew that no matter what I expected, I would be surprised. Expecting to be surprised makes surrendering to the inevitable far easier though, don’t you think?

We’re about half way through…or so we imagine. But of course we don’t know. We humans think we know a great deal and frequently we’re mistaken about that. There will be more surprises for us. (And for you.) May we find our way to be graceful through them.

Our kitchen is nearly done. Dribs and drabs remain. But we have water now, and heat to cook with. Our food is now within reach, and pots are bubbling on the stove. Spree is stirring. And though it’s Wednesday, and you might have expected vegetables (because I did lead you to that belief didn’t I?) ~ here is the smallest of offerings.

~ ~ ~

Halibut Fillets & Ribbons of Vegetables

in little paper packages

~ ~ ~

(And already another surprise…I just this very moment, we’re talking real time here, went to locate the images I’d shot of this sweet little dinner. It appears that I’ve erased them from my card …before uploading them to my computer. So – I’ll be back to fill in the images as it looks like our house may be enjoying this dish again on Saturday. 🙂 What are you gonna do? So in the meantime, would you be so kind as to imagine a light and very tender piece of halibut nestled in a parchment package, overlaid with colorful ribbons of zucchini & carrot & fennel & red pepper & peas, all brightened by wheels of lemon, bits of ginger & sprigs of cilantro? You’re a dear!)

Days later – OK friends – even though you’ve gone to all the trouble to conjure  this dish, we’ve enjoyed the dinner again and I’ve now got the photos for you. 

You might like this with a loaf of crusty bread, wrapped in aluminum foil and put in the same oven for about 10 minutes. Or maybe boiled or roasted new potatoes, or maybe basmati rice (or that delicious Forbidden Rice, as we did.) 

 Halibut & Ribbons of Vegetables in Papillote

for 4 servings

  • 1 zucchini, sliced into ribbons or shoestrings
  • 1 carrot, again, as with your zucchini
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 handful fresh snow peas or sugar peas in their pods, thinly sliced
  • 1 small fennel bulb (tough outer layer removed) sliced thinly
  • fresh ginger root – the thickness of your thumb x 1-inch, cut into very thin matchsticks
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt & freshly-ground pepper to taste
  • 2 Meyer lemons, 1 grated & juiced, the other cut into thin wheels
  • 4 halibut fillets, about 6 to 8 ounces each (170 – 225 g) (or another mild fish of your choice)
  • Olive oil for drizzling

Preheat the oven (or toaster oven if you’re camping out indoors or feeding only 2) to 420°F (215°C).  Cut parchment paper into 14 to 16-inch square pieces.

Read more

Halibut Tacos with Tequila-lime Marinade

 

It’s becoming apparent, isn’t it? We eat our share of seafood.  In these pages what you’ll mostly see is what I get excited about – and this time of year it’s the bountiful variety of fresh-picked produce, grown nearby – and  fresh fish, line-caught. Yesterday felt remarkably like – well, summer – and fish tacos seemed like such a festive way to celebrate a day so beautiful.

Halibut Tacos with Tequila-lime Marinade & Red Cabbage Slaw

(serves 4 ~ or more)

For the red cabbage slaw

  • 3/4 pound red cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro leaves and stems, roughly chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

For the tequila-lime marinade

  • 1 lime, first zested, then juiced (about 1 tsp. zest and 2 Tbl. juice)
  • 2 Tablespoons tequila
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 small jalapeños, halved, seeds and membranes removed, sliced crosswise into half rings
  • 1 small red onion, cut into thin half moons (about 2/3 cup)
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

For the halibut

  • 1 pound halibut fillet, skinned
  • 1 Tablespoon high-heat vegetable oil

For the taco bar

  • Flour tortillas, warmed
  • Sour cream
  • Guacamole (for a quick, easy home-made version see NOTE below)
  • Extra limes

To prepare the slaw, toss the cabbage with the salt. Place in a colander and put the colander in the sink. Using a bowl that fits well into the colander, fill with water and place on top of the shredded cabbage.  The weight of the water-filled bowl will force moisture from the cabbage, concentrating its flavor.

In a large bowl, mix together the shredded apple, mustard seeds, cilantro, vinegar and olive oil. Then, using your hands, lift the cabbage and squeeze it well. Rinse the salt from the cabbage with plenty of water, then squeeze again, getting all the liquid out. Combine the cabbage with the rest of the slaw ingredients, stir and season with salt if needed. Set aside.

To prepare the marinade, combine all of its ingredients in a small bowl.

To prepare the halibut, place it in a large pan (glass or ceramic preferably) and pour the marinade over the fillet. Set aside for 20 minutes.

In a grill pan or sauté pan over high heat, add the vegetable oil. Add the halibut, reserving the marinade, and cook until the fish is browned on one side, about 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully flip the halibut over and continue cooking until the fish is not quite yet flaking (in other words, just slightly underdone. It will continue to cook removed from the heat.) Total cooking time will be about 8 minutes per inch of fish, measured at the thickest part. Transfer the fish to a platter. Then add the reserved marinade to the pan (or get a fresh pan if you grilled the fish) and cook the marinade over high heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed and the onions and jalapeños are beginning to char. Then pile this mixture back onto the fish (which should be just perfectly flaking by now.)

Read more