Cook in the Moment: Braised Halibut and Artichokes

Braised Halibut and Artichokes (c)2012

The sky is grey and a cool breeze whips through the tree branches. I watch from my apartment window as they wave back and forth, as if in slow motion, tender spring blossoms quivering. The rain pelts the window, “tap, tap, tap.” “Come in, “ I invite her. On Sunday I enjoy her company like that of an old friend who has been away for too long. Rain is rare in Boulder, Colorado. Snow, however, is a frequent visitor, often overstaying his welcome, as winter becomes spring. This year is off to a dry start, and summer in Colorado will be very dry- dessert like. The unexpected rain shower is a welcome guest I embrace, inhaling her perfume of wet grass, savoring the sound of each drop like laughter between friends. She takes me back to my childhood in Arkansas, where humidity was a constant companion and rain poured readily from the sky. These are good memories of green country fields cloaked in fog, sopping wet clothes from a surprise downpour, and playing in puddles.


10 Ways Tuesday: Halibut

Halibut (c)2012

I’ve got creative recipes for cooking with Halibut during spring:


1.  Braised Halibut on the Stovetop

My favorite way to cook halibut is Eric Ripert’s Braised Halibut with Peas. It begins with sautéed bacon pieces, then onions, peas, and lettuce. Halibut is nestled into the vegetables, simmered in chicken stock for just a few minutes until cooked through. The result is a bacon-infused broth and tender, flaky, halibut fillets. I love this technique so much I simplified it to one pot and made it my inspiration for Braised Halibut and Artichokes, a recipe to be featured on the blog later this week.

2.  Ceviche

In Fiesta at Rick’s, there is a recipe for Frontera Grill’s Now-Classic Ceviche showcasing the sweet flavor and firm flesh of halibut. The sushi-grade halibut is cut into 1/2-inch cubes, then marinated in lime juice with chopped white onion in the fridge for half an hour (for medium rare) or up to 3-4 hours for “cooked” all the way through. Finely chopped hot green chiles (serranos or jalapeño), green olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and cilantro are added to the “cooked” fish, which is then seasoned with salt and a pinch of sugar. Serve the halibut ceviche with corn chips as an appetizer for happy hour on the patio with a nice cold cerveza.


Ingredient of the Week: Halibut

Halibut (c)2012

Halibut is the ingredient of the week at la Domestique. Yes, even fish is a seasonal ingredient. This largest of the flatfish is a bottom dweller from the North Pacific Ocean. The average size is 50-100 pounds, though the biggest halibut caught on record weighed almost 500 pounds! Fresh halibut is available in the United States from March to September. According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Guide, Best Choice halibut is wild caught, from the Pacific, mostly Alaska. Look for MSC certified fish (Marine Stewardship Council), which means the fisheries are sustainable, using lines that don’t accidentally catch marine mammals or seabirds, degrade habitats, or deplete populations.

Halibut is a firm-fleshed white fish with a delicate, sweet flavor. It stands up to heat well, and so can be braised, grilled, or pan seared more easily than delicate sole or tilapia. In Ad Hoc at Home, Thomas Keller advises that when buying fish at market,