It’s finally summer, the season for all sorts of celebrations. If for no other reason than I-just-want-to-feel-like-myself-again, I think livin’ it up a little and getting a bit fancy “just because” may well lift our spirits.
What does this mean for the home cook? First of all, it means getting out of your chicken breast and pasta rut. Let loose, take it up a notch... and why not with fish?
Trying something different is always a learning experience and fish often connotes “a step up.” But that does not have to mean difficult.
I put this theory to the test recently for a close friend’s birthday. To me, any special occasion first speaks to “what can I cook to make it even more special?” With halibut on sale it was a no-brainer so I adapted a recipe from an issue of Coastal Living. This recipe reminds me of a southern seafood entree I had years ago at the renowned Elizabeth’s on 37th in Savannah, Georgia.
Fish can be intimidating to a lot of home cooks. It’s actually quite easy and quick to make; it’s just a matter of giving it a try. Searing it on high heat on top of the stove and then finishing it in the oven for 10 minutes is as easy-peasy as it gets and you will be rewarded with moist and tender fish. Nap it with whatever topping suits your fancy - a fresh salsa, pesto, creamy mustard sauce, a melange of grilled, chopped bell peppers - anything really, and you’ve got a healthy, beautiful entree.
So I urge you to give fish a try. Freshness is key so make sure you shop at a high quality market or grocery store with high product turnover. Also make sure that you’re shopping for fish that’s “in season.” The freshest fish should be readily available which means that fishing of that variety is currently permitted. For the best nutritional and environmental choice, try to purchase wild/non-farmed fish. Seafood Watch, under the auspices of Monterey Bay Aquarium is the nation’s leading guide to sustainable choices. Check out their handy guide for making the best fish choices for your table.
Keep your eyes peeled for The Chopping Block's virtual demo classes involving fish such as our Grilled Bass with Mediterranean Farro Salad coming up this Sunday, June 14 at 4pm CST. You’ll be an expert in no time!
Shrimp Succotash-Napped Halibut
For the fish:
2 6-ounce halibut filets
Salt & pepper
1 Tablespoon olive oil
For the succotash:
3/4 cup frozen lima beans, thawed
1/4 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 Tablespoons butter, divided
2 scallions, chopped
3/4 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen, thawed
2 Tablespoons white wine
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the white wine butter sauce:
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 small shallot, minced
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons minced chives
4 cherry or grape tomatoes, chopped
Salt & white pepper to taste
For the fish:
1. Preheat oven to 385 degrees. Season the halibut with salt and pepper.
2. Heat the oil in a large, oven-proof skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat.
3. Add fillets and cook about 3 minutes, flesh side down.
4. When well seared, flip fish. If the fish seems to stick to the pan, it is not ready to be flipped. Continue to cook until the fish releases from the pan easily.
5. Hold seared fish before putting in oven and prepare succotash and sauce. The fish will only take 10 minutes so it’s probably easiest if veggies and sauce are already in progress when you put the fish in the oven.
6. Place in 385 degree oven and roast, about 10-15 minutes, until it flakes easily with a fork.
For the Succotash:
1. Cook lima beans in small amount of boiling salted water about 10 minutes.
2. Coarsely chop shrimp into bite-sized pieces.
3. Melt 2 Tablespoons butter in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat just until butter starts to brown.
4. Add shrimp and scallions; sauté about 1 minute until shrimp turns pink.
5. Add cooked limas and thawed or fresh corn kernels. Sauté about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Stir in wine and cook about 1 minute.
7. Whisk in remaining 1 Tablespoon butter until it melts.
8. Season with salt and pepper.
For the White Wine Butter Sauce:
1. Combine wine, chopped shallots, bay leaf and peppercorns in medium saucepan; bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat and simmer 7 minutes.
3. Stir in cream; simmer 3 more minutes or until reduced by half (max 1/2 cup should remain).
4. Strain sauce into bowl, discarding solids.
5. Return sauce to pan and place over low heat.
6. Add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking until melted. If you prefer a slightly thicker sauce, add more butter 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking. The sauce should be the consistency of heavy cream.
7. Remove from heat; whisk in lemon juice, chives and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
1. Place about 3/4 cup succotash in middle of plates. Top with halibut filet. Carefully drizzle white wine sauce over fish. Garnish with additional chopped chives.
Now that’s a plate to share on social media! Join the conversation and visual feast in our private Facebook group.