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Pan Fried Peppered Halibut With Pears And Watercress

2 medium ripe pears -- cored, and thinly sliced
1 bunch watercress - (abt 6 oz) -- rinsed, tough stems removed
4 halibut fillet pieces - (6 oz ea)
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon olive oil - (to 2 tbspns)
1 cup pear juice or apple juice
2 teaspoons red or white wine vinegar

Seafood Alternatives: grouper, Chilean sea bass

Combine the pear slices and watercress in a large bowl. Rinse the halibut, pat dry with paper towels and lay it on a plate, skin-side down. Crush the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle. Press the crushed pepper evenly onto the halibut.

In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add the halibut, skin-side up. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, turn the fish and continue cooking until the fish is just opaque in the center, 3 minutes longer. (If the halibut is thick and not yet cooked through, lower the heat, cover the pan and continue cooking for a few minutes.) Transfer the fish to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Add the pear juice to the skillet, increase the heat to medium-high and cook until reduced by about half, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally and incorporating bits of fish and pepper from the bottom of the pan. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Pour the hot mixture over the pears and watercress and toss to evenly coat.

Divide the pears and watercress among individual plates, set a piece of fish on top and drizzle the fish with the juices remaining in the bowl.

This recipe yields 4 servings.

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