Hubby is a big, big fish eater. He loves fish, so long as the fish doesn’t taste “fishy”. Nice, light, white flaky fish, that’s what he’s looking for. Hubby tends to like his fish battered, but I really think that has more to do with upbringing than preference. People from the Mid-West tend to like big, heavy portions of everything. I suppose the same could be said about most things – our preferences are more a product of upbringing. It took a while to get him to move away from heavily battered, deep fried things.
Once upon a time many moons ago, Hubby and I were having dinner at a lovely seafood establishment overlooking the San Francisco Bay. We ordered the same dish – The Captain’s Platter. It was a medley of different seafoods – shrimp, cod, scallops – a regular smorgasbord of delights. The difference between our two platter was in the cooking style. Hubby ordered his battered, I ordered mine grilled. I think that’s when Hubby first began to understand the difference between light cooking and smothering. While I do serve up battered foods, the batter is light. When your batter is as thick as your piece of fish, that’s just too much heavy breading. Besides, to me heavily battered seafood ends up tasting the same. When you can’t tell the difference between the flavor of a shrimp and a piece of cod or halibut, that’s when you say thanks but no thanks. There should be more than just texture that is noticeably different. After all, the Good Lord filled the sea with all sorts of tasty things to please the pallet. We have an obligation to enjoy the life given us. Food is one of those pleasures.
Baked Halibut with Vegetables and Cherry Tomato Salsa
Halibut with Vegetables
1 tablespoon Olive Oil, divided
4 small Yukon Gold potatoes, about 12 oz
1/2 teaspoon Green Peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 large Garlic Clove
2 Halibut Filets or about 1 lb
12 Asparagus Spears, trimmed
To Bake the Halibut with Vegetables
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a half-sheet pan with foil. Lightly oil the foil with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, set aside.
Slice the potatoes 1/4-inch thick. Lay them in single layer on the prepared pan, turning to coat in olive oil.
Using a mortar and pestle, grind the pepper corns. Combine with the salt in a small prep bowl. Sprinkle a third of the mixture over the potatoes. Bake for 25 minutes, until lightly browned.
While the potatoes cook, cut the garlic in half. Thinly slice half of the garlic and set. Mince the remaining half of the garlic and set aside separately in a small bowl.
Trim the asparagus of any woody ends. Set aside.
Remove the pan from the oven and increase the heat to 450 degrees. Turn the potato slices over, and push half of the slices to each the side of the pan to create a bed for the fish.
Lay the Halibut on top of the potatoes. Arrange the asparagus spears in a single layer in the center, and scatter the garlic slices around the asparagus. Lightly drizzle 1 teaspoon of the olive oil entire pan.
Sprinkle with one-third of the salt and pepper combination. Place in the heated oven to bake until the fish is opaque in the center, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Cherry Tomato Salsa
1 pint Cherry Tomatoes
1 Onion, sweet
2 tablespoons chopped Cilantro
1 small sprig Thyme, minced
1 Lime, juiced
1/4 teaspoon Jalapeño Hot Sauce
1 large Garlic Clove
To Make the Cherry Tomato Salsa
Quarter the tomatoes and place in a medium size bowl. Peel and dice the onion, adding to the bowl with the tomatoes. Set aside.
Mince the thyme, chop the cilantro, and place in the small bowl with the minced garlic. Add the lime juice, the last teaspoon of the olive oil, the hot sauce, (more or less to taste) and the remaining salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. Pour the sauce over the tomato-onion mixture. Gently stir to coat in the sauce. Set aside.
Once the fish is cooked through, remove from oven. Plate the asparagus in the center of a large serving platter. Break each fish in half to create four servings. Arrange the fish and potatoes around the asparagus. Garnish with a little of the Cherry Tomato Salsa. Serve with more salsa on the side to use as desired.