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Roast Alaskan Halibut with Baby Fennel, Virgin Olive Oil

2 c Fine extra virgin olive oil
4 Heads baby fennel
12 lg Fresh unpeeled garlic cloves
4 Ripe Roma tomatoes
8 Portins Halibut; thick cut, brick-like (3 1/2 ounce)
Fleur de sel; (sea salt) and white pepper, to taste
1/2 oz Butter
1 Sprig fresh tyhme
1/3 c Fresh tiny mint leaves
1/3 c Fresh tiny opal basil leaves
1/3 c Fresh chervil leaves
Fleur de sel; (sea salt) and white pepper, to taste
1/2 bn Dried fennel sticks

Begin by making the garlic and tomato confit. Place 2 cups of olive oil in a saucepan. Bring the temperature of the oil to about 225 degrees. Clean the ends of the baby fennel and be sure the fennel is clean. Place the fennel and the whole garlic cloves in the olive oil. Be sure to maintain constant temperature throughout the cooking process. Test the doneness of the fennel and the garlic with the tip of a small knife. They will both be done when they fall easily from the knife. When they are cooked through, remove them from the fat and allow them to cool. Serve the olive oil as it is now infused with the flavor of fennel and garlic. When the fennel is cool, cut it in half so you see the lengthwise cross section of the vegetable. Cut the garlic cloves in half as well so that the flesh of the garlic is exposed but remains in the skin. Set all of these items aside while you prepare the tomatoes.

Remove the core of the tomatoes and crosshatch the base of the tomatoes. Place them in boiling water and then remove them after 15 seconds to a bowl of ice water. Peel the tomatoes and cut them in quarters through the stem end. Cut away the seeds of the tomato leaving only the petals of the tomato flesh, Line a half sheet pan with aluminum foil. Brush some of the fennel scented olive oil on the sheet pan and arrange the tomatoes on top. Drizzle a bit more of the oil over the tomatoes and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Place the tomatoes in a 250 degree oven until they begin to shrivel just slightly, about 11/2 hour. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and set them aside for service.

Now you are ready to cook the fish. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Begin by brushing the fish with a bit of the infused oil, season both sides with salt and pepper. Preheat a large saute pan until it is very hot. Place a small amount of blended oil in the pan and once it begins to smoke add the fish. Cook for 3 minutes on top of the stove until the fish begins to turn brown, place the skillet in a 350 degree oven. The fish will cook in about 2 minutes depending on its thickness.

While the fish is cooking place a second saute pan on the fire and add a bit of the infused oil and the butter. As the butter begins to brown add the halved baby fennel and halved cloves of garic and tomato petals. This serves to lightly brown them and also reheat them. When they are all hot flip them and season with the fleur de sel and pepper. As the fish finishes, drizzle each plate with a bit of the infused oil and sprinkle each portion with the fleur de sel and pepper.

To begin the final assembly, remove the fish from the pan and palce 2 pieces on each of four plates. Arrange the fennel confit, garlic and the tomato around the fish. Toss the herbs with a bit of the cooled oil and a squeeze of lemon along with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the plates with the herbs to perfume the dish, Drizzle a bit of the oil, and garnish with a sprig of the fennel stick. Adjust the seasoning of the cooking liquid and spoon a bit over the dish.

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