Monday, February 23, 2009

Bacon-Wrapped Halibut with Seared Cherry Tomato Sauce and Smashed Peas

I was starving last night but had no desire to go to the grocery store so I had to come up with something using the ingredients around the house. I flipped through Rachel Ray's Express Meals and found this - you all must think I am obsessed with RR but I do have 3 of her cookbooks and I'm almost always pleased with her creations. I did a lot of substitutions with this recipe because I did not have halibut (but had tilapia), a lemon for zesting, cherry tomatoes or fresh parsley. Nevertheless, I went forward with what I had and it was a hit with my mom and sister!

4 6-ounce halibut fillets
salt and pepper
8 center-cut bacon slices
3 tablespoons EVOO
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 10-ounce boxes frozen peas
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, a generous handful (I used dried)
zest of one lemon (I used a few splashes of lemon juice)
3 tablespoons half and half or heavy cream (I used heavy cream)
1 pint cherry tomatoes (I used 14 ounces of crushed tomatoes)
1 large garlis clove, chopped
1/4 cup white wine (I used cooking white wine - not as strong but still tasty)
1/4 cup chicken stock, plus another 1/4 cup to reheat peas if necessary
1/2 cup fresh basil, about 10 leaves, chopped or torn

Season the halibut fillets with the salt and pepper, going easy on the salt. Arrange 2 bacon slices side by side, overlapping slightly. Place one end of a halibut fillet on the edge of the bacon slices. Working a spiral fashion, wrap and roll the bacon around the fish, pulling gently on the bacon to make both ends up on the same side of the fillet. (This is prevent the bacon from unraveling as it cooks.) Reserve the fish in the fridge while you get the smashed peas working.

To a medium saucepan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of the EVOO, once around the pan, then 1 tablespoon of the butter and the onions. Saute the onions for 2 minutes, then add the frozen peas, and raise the heat a bit. Stir the peas to heat them through and allow the liquid to evaporate. When the peas are heated through, add half of the parsley, the lemon zest, half and half or cream, salt, and pepper to the pan and smash all together using a potato masher or fork. Turn the heat off and cover the peas with a lid or some foil to keep them warm.

Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of the EVOO. Add the bacon-wrapped halibut to the hot skilelt, bacon-end side down first, and cook them for 2 or 3 minutes on each of the 4 sides. Don't turn the fillets until the bacon is crispy looking on each side.

While the halibut cooks, start the seared cherry tomato sauce. Preheat a small skillet over high heat with the remaining tablespoon of EVOO; once it is screaming hot add the cherry tomatoes, season them with the salt and pepper, and sear them for 1 minute without moving them.

Turn the heat down to medium and shake the pan, add the garlic, and continue to cook for 1 minute. Next, add the white wine and cook until it has almost completely evaporated, then add 1/4 cup chicken stock. Bring the sauce to a bubble and remove it from the heat. Add the basil and the remaining tablespoon of butter and stir them to combine and melt the butter.

If the smashed peas need to be reheated, put the pot over medium heat, add 1/4 cup of chicken stock, and stir until the peas are steaming.

To serve, spoon a portion of the smashed peas in the center of a dinner place, arrange a bacon-wrapped halibut fillet on top of the peas, and top it with some of the seared cherry tomato sauce and the remaining parsley.

I must say, this picture isn't too impressive, but it was delicious!

Like I said before, I used tilapia fillets. They varied in size so the larger ones I used 2 pieces of bacon and the smaller, just one. I found that the fish cooked quicker than the bacon so at the end of the cook time, I had to jack up the heat to get the bacon crispy. And the fish was falling apart too!

I had trouble smashing the peas. I couldn't find a potato masher and a fork wasn't working well so I left most of them whole, which worked out fine too. When it came time to serve the peas, they were still very hot but I added some chicken stock just to add more flavor.

Since I didn't have cherry tomatoes, I used about 14 ounces of crushed tomatoes so it turned out to be more of a puree than a chunky sauce like RR intended. But with the stock, butter and basil, it tasted very yummy!

Many flavors come together well in this meal. It hit the spot! Sometime, I will try the recipe again when I have halibut and cherry tomatoes.

From now on, I think I'll prepare peas like this - I love the finely chopped onions, s&p, cream and chicken stock!

1 comment:

  1. This recipe is one I definitely want to try. The title alone listed my favorite foods... and the picture sold me! Looks and sounds delicious!