Line Caught Alaskan Halibut with Fennel and Clementine Gremolata and Saffron Rice
My mother in law has some friends who recently spent an extended time working and playing in Alaska. One of the bonuses of their return was a package of Halibut caught, flash frozen and shipped back for us to enjoy. In New Hampshire Halibut is hard to get and very expensive so we planned a special dinner for this treat. The saffron for the rice was a thank you gift grown 5000 miles east of Alaska in Spain. These tiny threads plucked from the crocus add a delicious scent and flavor to rice.
Boxes of Cutie Pies (Clementines) have been on our kitchen counter all winter and although they are delicious plain I have been wondering about other ways to use these sweet clementines. The gremolata is a small salad, a combination of fennel, clementines, parsley and lemon. The fish is dipped in flour, salt and pepper and quickly sautéed in a hot pan. Make sure when you slice the fennel you remove the core at the base of the bulb – it is tough and not as good for this fresh salad.
2 Clementines, peeled and chopped
Juice of one clementine
2 Tablespoons olive oil
¼ Cup fennel bulb thinly sliced
1/3 Cup fresh parsley – torn – not chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Pinch of sea salt
Mix all ingredients and set aside.
Saute in olive oil:
¼ cup each diced celery, carrot, onion for 5 – 7 minutes
½ teaspoon saffron threads
1 Cup chicken stock
2/3 cup water
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup basmati (I prefer the Indian Basmasti to the California Basmati)
Cook on very low heat for approximately 20 – 25 minutes until the rice has absorbed all the liquid.
For the fish:
Whisk a flour mixture of:
½ cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Pour the flour mixture into a pie plate
Heat a large sauté pan (large enough to hold your fish). You want the pan quite hot but not smoking. Quickly dredge the fish in the flour mixture on both sides. Put the fish, skin side up in the sauté pan and brown the fish for 2 – 3 minutes. You want a nice brown crunchy crust. Flip the fish to other side and remove from heat after the other side develops a nice crust. Remember you want to cook this quickly so the fish doesn't dry out or over cook. Remove from heat immediately when the fish is done.