Thursday, June 28, 2012

Halibut with Saffron and Smoked Paprika Aioli

I tried out a new fish this week with a lovely, delicate halibut fillet. I've only had halibut once before. When I was in Alaska, I had an amazing halibut fish and chips at Humpy's, which was the second-best fish and chips I've ever had.

This was my first time cooking halibut myself though, so I opted for a light sear in a hot pan. I'd also been imagining Spanish-inspired flavors to go with it, and whipped up an aioli with saffron and smoked paprika based off the basic 2-minute mayo technique. To continue with the Spanish/Mediterranean flavors, I made a side dish with roasted tomatoes and shallots and added olives and capers.

Halibut with Saffron and Smoked Paprika Aioli

  • 4 oz. filet of halibut
  • olive oil

    For the aioli:
  • 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • pinch of saffron soaking in1 tablespoon warm water
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of sugar (optional)

    For the tomato and shallot side dish:   
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 shallot
  • 3 oil-cured black Greek olives
  • 2 teaspoons capers
  • olive oil
  • sherry vinegar
  • fresh basil

Make the aioli:

  1. Using the same method as the 2-minute mayo, place the yolk, garlic, sherry vinegar, smoked paprika, saffron and its soaking water, salt, pepper and oils in a wide-mouthed jar or measuring cup and puree it with a stick blender.
  2. Whisk in the lemon juice and taste for seasoning. If the vinegar is too strong, you can add a pinch of sugar. At this point, I added a bit more smoked paprika too. 
  3. Refrigerate for at least a half hour.

Make the side dish:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Cut the tomato into quarters and then  cut those quarters into large chunks. Slice a large shallot into quarters. Toss together the tomatoes and shallots with a drizzle of olive oil, some salt and pepper, then place in a roasting pan lined with foil. 
  2. Roast for 15 minutes, then take them out and stir and roast for another 15 - 20 minutes or longer, until they are roasted to your liking. Remove to a bowl and let cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Chop up the olives and capers, then add to the tomatoes and shallots.
  4. Add a drizzle of olive oil and sherry vinegar and basil. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

For the fish:

  1. Let the fillet come to room temperature. Heat a sturdy saute pan over medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. One the oil has started to shimmer, sprinkle some salt and pepper on the skin side of the fish and immediately lay that side down in the oil. Salt and pepper the top of the fish. 
  2. Sear for 3 minutes, then flip and sear for 2 minutes on the other side, plate and serve with the roasted vegetables on the side and a dollop of aioli on top.

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