Monday, May 18, 2009

Pan-Seared Halibut with Pea Puree

A recent trip to the Farmer's Market revealed the spring harvest. Beautiful summer squashes, colorful asparagus, globe-sized artichokes, and fresh peas were there for the tasting. There is a small window where one can find fresh peas at the market, but this dish could just as easily (and deliciously) be made with frozen peas.

2 6-oz filets of halibut (or other firm-fleshed white fish)
extra virgin olive oil
2 cups (or so) fresh peas or 1 bag frozen peas
1/3 cup part-skim ricotta
1/8-1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, to taste (start with less then add)
1 lemon, half juiced
1/2 cup chicken stock

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Salt and add peas. Cook until tender but not mushy. (This will take 10-12 minutes for fresh peas, less time for frozen peas.) Drain.

2. Place a pan on the stove. Turn heat to high. Add 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Let oil get very hot. Salt and pepper fish filets on both sides. Add to pan and do not touch. After a couple minutes, turn the heat to medium-high.

3. In a food processor, add peas, ricotta, mint, lemon juice, a couple pinches of salt and some pepper. Blend. Thin out with chicken stock until it whizzes easily in the processor but still holds some shape. You may not need a half cup. Taste and adjust seasons accordingly. (Maybe more lemon...for strong lemon flavor, add a little grated rind...perhaps more mint...or salt)

3. When fish is halfway cooked, flip and don't touch again. This side will take less time to finish. Cook until done. (You know this by touching the side of the fish--it should resist your touch a little. If your fingers are able to just push in, cook a few more minutes).

4. Serve halibut over pea puree. Pairs nicely with a green salad.

Serves 2.

Printable version here.