CELEBRATE WEDNESDAY: CRISPY HERB-CRUSTED HALIBUT

Most people are preoccupied and busy during the week, so weeknight dinners lean towards the quick and simple.  But,  every once in a while it’s nice to create a special meal, and Wednesday’s my favorite day to do it, because it’s right in the middle of the exhausting road to the weekend.  It’s HUMP DAY!   After reading  a  comment from Lisa, I decided to include such special dinners in a  category  called “Celebrate Wednesday.”  They will  focus on recipes  that are easy to prepare and sure to bring festivities to the table.  Today  it’s a  delicious  recipe from Anne Burrell,  that turned a cloudy, chilly Wednesday this past week into a warm, relaxing evening.

CRISPY HERB-CRUSTED HALIBUT WITH CURLY CELERY
(adapted from Chef Anne Burrell, recipe available online here)

6 celery ribs
Kosher salt
1 lemon, halved, divided
1/2 pound green beans,  cut in 1/2 inch pieces
Extra-virgin olive oil
1  garlic clove
Pinch of red pepper flakes
4 (6-ounce) halibut fillets, skin removed
1/2 bunch thyme, leaves chopped
1/2  bunch chives, minced
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, leaves finely chopped
1 cup instant mashed potato flakes
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water (egg wash)
olive oil

Using a sharp veggie peeler, shave the celery to get long, thin shavings. Put the celery shavings in ice water with half a lemon and its juice and let sit for at least 1 hour or overnight in the refrigerator. The celery will get very crunchy, and all curly. Before you start preparing the rest of the meal, drain the celery and dry it well (preferably using a salad spinner). Reserve.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil,  and set up a bowl of ice water. Toss the green beans in the boiling water and cook until they beans are tender but still firm. Remove the beans from the boiling water and plunge immediately into the ice water and let them cool. When they are cold and still vibrantly green, remove them from the ice water and reserve (can be prepared the day before).

Heat your oven to 375 F.

Season the fish fillets with salt. Combine the herbs and the potato flakes in a shallow dish. Place the egg wash in another bowl. Dip the flesh side of each fillet into the egg wash and then press them into the herb/potato flake mixture. Put on a sheet tray with the crusted side up.

Coat a large saute pan with olive oil and heat it over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the fish, crusted side down. When the crust has become golden and crispy, flip them over, then transfer the fish to a baking sheet lined with a cooling rack and put in the preheated oven for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the filet is flaky and cooked through.

Remove the oil in the saute pan and add new oil. Toss in the garlic and crushed red pepper. When the garlic becomes golden and aromatic remove it and discard. Toss in the reserved green beans, and toss them around the pan to heat them through, without overcooking.  Turn off the heat, and add the crispy celery on top. Squeeze the juice of the other half of the lemon all over the veggies, divide them between 4 serving plates and top with the fish.

ENJOY!  (I know you will…  😉 ) 

to print the recipe, click here

 I don’t normally buy instant mashed potatoes, but when Anne Burrell asked me to, I complied. It took me a while to even find them at the grocery store. They come in a box and they hang around their buddies like boxed mac and cheese,  and hamburger helpers.  Now I must find some other uses, because the box is huge! (sigh)

The celery deserves a paragraph for itself.  The ribbons, after a few hours in the icy, lemony water, turn into crispy creatures, absolutely delicious! They were a pain to shave, but that’s probably due to my poor skills with the veggie peeler. I halved the recipe (used two fish filets only), but still went through 6 celery stalks to have enough good looking ribbons. At any rate, I advise you to make more than you think you need. Add it to a salad next day, or munch on them straight from the fridge. It’s addictive stuff!

This was a superb meal, one that I would make for company anytime.  And had the desired effect on my beloved, who was expecting leftovers from the evening before for his dinner.  😉

ONE YEAR AGO: Almond Butter Cake

TWO YEARS AGO: Bonjour!  (makes me miss Paris!)

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YES, WE CAN (on the GRIDDLE)

I wish I could say that I made this dish, but the credit goes to my dear husband, who prepared petrale sole filets on our griddle, something we’ve never attempted before.   Our default method for this fish is the classic “sole meuniere“, which is ready in minutes in a luscious butter sauce, with lemon, parsley and capers.   Healthwise, it’s a bit of a wash: the fish is so light and healthy, but it’s swimming in butter…   Nevertheless, the taste is awesome (worth every molecule of saturated fat it contains).

Seriously. this griddled alternative was absolutely delicious, undoubtedly also from  the high quality of the fish.  It’s so nice to have a fish monger nearby!

GRIDDLE-FRIED FILET OF PETRALE SOLE
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

filets of sole
lemon juice
all purpose flour
salt and pepper
vegetable oil to coat the griddle
(small pad of butter, optiional)

Rinse the fish briefly, dry with paper towels.   Sprinkle a little lemon juice all over the filets and season with salt and pepper.    Dredge each filet in salted/peppered flour or very carefully shake the filets in a paper bag with seasoned flour.

Coat the surface of the griddle with a tablespoon of oil, set it at maximum temperature (ours goes to 400F), and cook each filet about 5 min per side, until  both sides are golden brown and the fish is cooked through.  In the last couple of minutes squeeze some lemon and drop a small pad of butter among the filets, if you like.  Serve with lemon wedges.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: When your are fortunate enough to find fresh petrale sole, the less you mess with it, the better it will be.  It’s such a terrific, delicate fish, don’t suffocate it with powerful flavors.  We were amazed by how well the griddle fried it.  In a sautee pan, even with high heat, the coating may become soggy.  This doesn’t pose a problem in a classic sole meuniere, because the pan sauce coats the fish and distracts from the texture.   Griddle-frying, on the other hand, resulted in crisp, dry filets that weren’t greasy, and the lemon juice sealed the meal.  Amazing that we had to travel a thousand miles to a downsized kitchen to discover this way to cook a fish filet!

ONE YEAR AGO: Barm Bread

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