This recipe was inspired by chef Joanne Weir. Ms. Weir has been hosting cooking shows on public television for 20 years. She is a successful chef living in California, a food writer and cookbook author. Her recipes often bring an international flair as she hosts culinary travels for her students to eat and cook the local recipes from Spain to Italy to Morocco. This recipe inspires me more from an American perspective. No exotics spices or ingredients. The ingredients here remind me of a common supper perhaps stemming from New England.
Ms. Weir's recipe was presented using cod. I prefer the taste and texture of halibut. But really, any flakey white fish would work in this recipe. Most ingredients are pantry staples, perhaps with exception of capers. Capers are good to have on hand lending a salty briny flavor to dishes. Perfect for fish recipes and other Mediterranean influenced dishes. They are inexpensive and will last in the refrigerator for months. But if you don't have them, you can leave them out and still have a perfect dish for dinner.
This recipe is comfort in a bowl. You will want to have good toasted bread to sop up the broth. Enjoy.
Halibut with Leeks & Potatoes in Broth
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons capers
3 sprigs fresh thyme, about 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves*
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 4-ounce pieces halibut or cod, skinless
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
Prepare the potatoes by peeling them and slicing into slices about 1/4-inch thick. Prepare the leeks by cutting away the dark green stalks, keeping only the pale green and white parts. Cut each leek in half from the root end to the tip. Thoroughly rinse the leek under cold water to remove the dirt from the layers. Place the cut-side down on a cutting board. Thinly slice each leek half into thin half-rounds.
Working with a large skillet over medium high heat, add the stock, wine, Dijon, capers, fresh thyme leaves, and salt into the hot skillet. Stir to combine. Carefully add the sliced potatoes to the liquid, keeping the potatoes in one layer. Scatter the cut leeks over the potatoes. Sprinkle with the teaspoon of salt. Cover the skillet to cook the potatoes and leeks until tender, about 12 minutes.
Prepare the pieces of fish by sprinkling the lemon zest onto each piece. Season each piece with a bit of salt, and a drizzle of olive oil. Carefully place each piece into the pan with the potatoes and leeks, slightly nestling in with the potatoes. Cover the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. When the fish is cooked, turn off the heat, add 1 tablespoon of butter to the broth, gentle swirling the pan to melt the butter.
To serve, place 1 piece of fish into a shallow bowl, add a scoop of potatoes and leeks to the bowl, and a ladle of broth to each bowl. Serve hot with toasted bread.
* if you use dried thyme, reduce the amount to 1/4 teaspoon
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