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Friday, May 23, 2008

lemon and herb crusted halibut over arugula salad

herb crusted halibut

Pacific halibut is now available at WF here in Atlanta, and I can't stop thinking about new ways to try it. I found this Emeril recipe and when I saw that it involves painting the fillet with dijon mustard (before pressing with lemon zest and herbs), it reminded me of this delicious vinaigrette concoction featured on Orangette a few weeks ago. I decided to make my own version of the lemon-herb mixture, sear the fillet, then serve over a simple arugula salad - summery, light, but tangy enough to it complements this delicate whitefish. A perfect weeknight meal for hot Atlanta weather (at least while halibut is available).

Grocery list: 1 pound halibut fillet, cream, dijon mustard (roland extra strong is what Orangette recommends - it's my favorite as well), white or red wine vinegar, 1 garlic clove, zest of 1 lemon, thyme, parsley, heavy cream, olive oil.

creamy dijon dressing 2

To make the vinaigrette, mix 4 T olive oil, 3 T heavy cream, 2 T wine vinegar, 1 mashed garlic clove, 1 tsp dijon (note - I started with just the oil, garlic and dijon base, adding more like 1 T of dijon, in order to use part of it to coat the halibut, which I'll get to below). Whisk and season with salt and pepper.

thyme and lemon herb crust

For the halibut, zest the lemon and mince the thyme and parsley - about 1 T of each. Mix with 1-2 tsp sea salt and lots of black pepper. The original recipe also calls for dill and chevril, but I was just using what I had in the fridge.

pressing herbs onto halibut

On the skinless side of the fillet, coat with the dijon mixture, then coat with the lemon zest / herbs, pressing to stick as much as possible to the dijon. Heat the oven to 450 degrees, and heat an oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat on the stove. Place the fish herb side down (in 1-2 T of olive oil), cook for 3 minutes, then flip so the skin side is down. Cook another 3 minutes, then place in the oven and roast until the fish is opaque and flakes easily. The roasting time will depend on how thick the fillet is - mine was about 1.5 inches, and it took 10 minutes of oven time before it was done. I like finishing this way because you get the crispy outside from searing, without worrying about burning the fish. Plus, when you remove it from the pan, the skin falls right off, staying behind in the hot pan.

arugula salad

Toss the dressing with fresh arugula, and serve the fish on top of the salad.

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