It's Spring, it's fresh and it's my favorite season for so many reasons. Sure it's been raining and muddy and outrageously windy here for the last two weeks but I don't mind at all (actually I find high winds quite disturbing but that is a whole other story). Not when my tulips, crocuses and cherry blossoms are blooming. The refreshing aroma of new is intoxicating to me and don't even get me started on Spring cuisine. Okay, I was started way before I was even started. Spring brings us beautiful vegetables like mushrooms, radishes, artichokes, peas and asparagus, oh and my chives are happily growing with a vengeance. Not bad, right? It also brings us halibut. One of my favorite fish, halibut is widely versatile and it's also a hearty fish. It can stand up to many flavours whether they be mild or intense but in celebration of this wonderful season my favorite way to prepare halibut is light and simple. This pan fried halibut with asparagus puree is a perfect seasonal dish for Spring.
2 halibut filets aproximately 1" thick
1/2 lb asparagus, woody ends removed, cut asparagus into 1 " dice
1 small shallot, finely diced
1 small rib celery
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
salt and pepper
1. Coat the bottom of a saucepan with oil heated to low-medium. Add the shallot and celery and saute for about 8-10 minutes or just until they are softened. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season the water with a pinch of salt and add the asparagus. Boil the asparagus for 1 minute, strain the asparagus and immediatley place in ice water to cool. Once cool, strain the asparagus and place in the blender along with the sauteed shallot, celery and chicken stock. Puree the mixture until nice and smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Rub your fingers across the halibut to make sure there are no bones. Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Heat butter and oil in a heavy bottomed skillet to medium high. If you have a cast iron skillet this would be a perfect time to use it. Once the oil/butter is hot, place the halibut in the pan skin side down. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Gently flip the fish and cook another 3-4 minutes.
4. Gently reheat the asparagus puree and serve along with the halibut with a generous squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of chive oil Recipe for Chive Oil is below).
Chive Oil Recipe:
1 bunch chives (should equal about a handful)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt
1. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil, season the water with a pinch of salt. Place the chives in the boiling water for 10 seconds. Remove the chives and place in a bowl of ice water. Remove the chives and pat completely dry.
2. Place the chives in a blender or food processor on high. Lightly drizzle the oil into the processor and process until the chives are blended with the oil.
3. Allow the chives and oil mixture to sit for at least an hour. After that time, strain the oil through cheesecloth.
Store the oil covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.