Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Just for the Halibut!

Alaskan Halibut season officially opened on March 12! High quality fresh Halibut is now starting to fill the pipeline and catch volumes have been normal despite the weather. That's good news for northwest Halibut lovers. 

I love the clean, meaty flavor of Halibut and one of my favorite ways to enjoy it is with a touch of Spicy Tomato Chutney. Good Tomato Chutney can be difficult to find on the shelves of your local market. Fortunately, it's easy to make and can be stored in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.  It's also really tasty on eggs, with curries, on roasted chicken or lamb and with panisse (chickpea fries) or polenta cakes.

If you live in the Seattle area, stop by the Seattle Fish Company
Thursday, March 31, 2011
5pm and 7pm
to sample my Pan-Seared Halibut with Spicy Tomato Chutney! 
If not, here's the recipe so you can try it at home.

Pan-Seared Halibut with Spicy Tomato Chutney

4 tbsp of sunflower oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 dried red chiles, whole
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
2 lbs Roma tomatoes
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3 whole cloves
pinch of nutmeg
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tbsp minced garlic
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 6 to 8 ounces halibut fillets
1 tbsp sunflower oil

Core and seed the tomatoes.

Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add chopped onion and sauté until translucent, about 10 minutes. Next, add all of the seeds, the chiles, chili powder and coriander to the oil. Cook one or two minutes until the seeds start to pop.

Add the vinegar and sugar stirring until dissolved. Stir in the tomatoes, the remaining spices, ginger and garlic, reduce heat and simmer for an hour.

After an hour, the tomato skins should be separating from the tomatoes and floating freely in the chutney. Use a pair of tongs to pull out the skins. Continue cooking until the is thick and syrupy but still chunky, approximately 1/2 hour. Remove the 2 whole chiles and discard. Salt to taste.

Sprinkle salt and pepper all over the fish. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil until shimmering. Add the halibut and cook over moderately high heat until browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Flip the fillets and cook about 2 minutes longer. Transfer the halibut to plates, spoon the tomato chutney on top and serve.

Note: The chutney can be made several days ahead of time and warmed just before service. Leftover chutney can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

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