Friday, April 11, 2008

Halibut, Two Ways

(Why should the pork belly have all the fun?)

Way #1: poached in "Parmesan broth", with chard and tomatoes
Way #2: roasted, with mushrooms, asparagus, bacon and eggs

halibut, way #2

We had 3 halibut steaks lying about in the refrigerator. I personally prefer fillets to steaks, halibut-wise, but T&T only has steaks (always!) for some reason. I guess we could go to other places that sell halibut, but it's freakingly expensive. I'd just have to let halibut stay in my "restaurant food" cateogory for now.

They were 3 sizable steaks, so I thought I'd cook them two different ways.

In the latest issue of Gourmet, there was a recipe for asparagus ravioli in Parmesan broth. I thought the "Parmesan broth" was very intriguing. After glancing at the recipe briefly, I set about my dish.

Way #1

We didn't have any stock -- well, just the tetra pack chicken stock -- so I rummaged through the refrigerator and pulled out all kinds of things, looking for ingredients I can use up in my dishes, including anything to flavor the poaching liquid I had planned for one of the dishes.

In the end, I had in there some ham, fennel trim, Parmiggiano-Reggiano rind, asparagus stalks, and orange and lemon slices. And water, of course. I simmered it for a little bit.

I wanted some soft-boiled eggs for my Way #2, so I plopped them into the liquid as well.

When the eggs were done, I strained the liquid (it was a little cloudy, but more on that later) and added more orange slices. In went one and a half halibut steaks. (There's also a lone mushroom in there, because it was left on the cutting board.)

After the fish finished cooking, I removed it and added some swiss chard and diced tomatoes to the poaching liquid.

I debated whether or not to serve the fish in the poaching liquid. My uncertainty lay in the fact that while the fish was cooking, the poaching liquid was emitting an.... odor. Upon closer examination, I found that the Parmiggiano-Reggiano rind I put in there still had some cheese on it. I don't think it was the fault of the cheese, per se, but I found the smell to be -- in plainest terms -- quite revolting. In fairness to the cheesy broth, I think I was already coming down with something at this time. But, making me want to vomit doesn't bode well for any ingredient, so I opted to discard the liquid and serve the poached fish sans jus. (I think I'll hold off making that "Parmesan broth" from Gourmet as well. For now, at least.)

And here it is.

It was pretty tasty, cheesy broth odor aside. But, I must say I was partial to my Way #2.

Way #2

My scavenge hunt through the refrigerator yielded some asparagus and mushrooms. They were roasted in the oven. (I even prepped the asparagus "with love", peeling off the tough outer layer of the bottom of the stalks.)

I then used the same pan to roast the remaining one and a half halibut steaks. In the meantime, I microwaved some bacon until they were crisp and peeled and halved the boiled eggs. (They were too firm to be soft-boiled, but at least they weren't hard-boiled.)

When the fish was done, everything came together.

Actually, I almost didn't need the fish in this dish. ;D

It goes without saying that all those components -- mushrooms, asparagus, bacon, egg -- work well together. As for the fish, I like it better pan-fried. The steaks didn't get a nice golden crust on the outside from just being in the oven. Also, is it just me, or are those T&T halibut steaks are not white-white-white like the halibut fillets I see/eat out? Perhaps one of these days I'll spring for those expensive white-white-white halibut fillets.

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