We did it! We survived another holiday season of cooking and baking and eating maybe one (seven) too many desserts. When we asked our friends what we could bring to their holiday parties, more than one asked for our Christmas Log and we happily and hungrily complied. As much as we loved these days, after indulging in Manhattans and so many cheeses, all the snacks and Panettone, gorgeous meals and every chocolate, candy cane, and Christmas candy of any kind in a 240 mile radius (give or take a few miles), we are, we’ll admit, ready to get back to normal. (Except when it comes to taking down decorations…then, not so much.)
There’s something perfect about a clean, simple, healthful meal at this time of year—especially when you’re doing your best to at least act like you’re going to stick to those new year’s resolutions. And this poached halibut and vegetable dish will not only help, it’ll make your resolutions seem enjoyable. It’s a snap to make, delicious, warming, and satisfying, and it’ll get the year off on the right foot. More importantly, it won’t be a big disappointment after all of those incredible holiday meals. Even in all of its healthiness, it manages to feel indulgent. Think of it like a spa day for your mouth. (And holiday thighs—hellooo.) You’ll feel good while you’re eating it and after. Treat yo’ self 2014.
Notes: Feel free to add a dried, thinly sliced chili (seeds removed or, for more heat, not) to the sautéing onions for some spice. Adding some ginger slices to the sauté pan is equally great. When you strain the broth, just pull out the ginger, julienne it, and toss back in with the carrots, celery, snow peas, and potatoes.
As for the potatoes, we used red, purple, and gold fingerlings but you can also use new potatoes. Depending on their size, figure one (large potato) to two or even three (for the really tiny spuds or really hungry people) per person. Just cut them in half or quarter them, as their size requires.
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Halibut Poached with Vegetables
– 4 halibut steaks—wild caught if you can get them
– 2 tbs of olive oil (for a 12-inch sauté pan)
– 1/2 large onion, sliced
– 3 cloves of garlic, smashed
– Sprinkle of turmeric, about 1/8 tsp
– 4 cups broth, chicken or vegetable: 2 cups for poaching, 2 cups to add to the stained broth
– 1/3 cup dry white wine
– 1/2 lemon, juiced
– 4 carrots, washed and peeled: 3 julienned and 1 cut into chunks
– 4 ribs of celery, washed: 3 julienned and 1 cut into large pieces
– 12 fingerling potatoes, scrubbed and washed, skins left on
– 1/4 lb snow peas, julienned
– Salt and pepper
– A few sprigs of thyme
* In a sauce pan, heat the 4 cups of broth. Bring to a simmer then lower the heat and cover.
* Place the sauté pan over medium heat to warm and add the olive oil.
* When the olive oil is hot, add the sliced onion and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until translucent, stirring occasionally.
* Add the turmeric and garlic. Mix and cook until fragrant.
* Add the carrot and celery chunks.
* Add the white wine and lemon juice. Cook until the liquid reduces.
* Salt and pepper the halibut on each side and place them on top of the vegetables.
* Add 2 cups of the simmering broth and the sprigs of thyme. Keep the remaining 2 cups of broth covered over low heat.
* Cover and cook the fish in the slowly simmering broth until it flakes and is opaque but not dry. Check after about 8–10 minutes.
* While the fish is cooking, bring the remaining 2 cups of broth to a simmer. Add the potatoes and cook for a few minutes.
* Add the julienned carrots and celery and cook until the potatoes and vegetables are done. You want them to be tender but not mushy.
* Add the julienned snow peas and reduce the heat to low.
* Remove the cooked fish and cover loosely to keep warm.
* Strain the broth from the fish, discarding the solids.
* Add the strained broth to the broth with vegetables. Stir to blend and taste for seasoning.
* Place one piece of fish in each of 4 bowls. Ladle in about a cup of broth and some of the vegetables. Serve hot.
©2014 Lee and Lou Cook. All rights reserved.