OLIVE-OIL-POACHED HALIBUT with Lemon Scented Potato Puree and Kalamata Olive-Tomato Vinaigrette
3 cups olive oil
1 lemon, quartered
4 basil leaf stems
2 tsp fennel seed
4 3-oz portions of halibut, skin and bones removed
2 tablespoons of olive oil
12 pitted Kalamata olives, sliced in 6 pieces
2 tomatoes, skinned, deseeded, and ﬁnely diced
2 teaspoons Lemon juice
16 tiny basil leaves
Salt and pepper
Zest of one lemon, ﬁnely julienned
Lemon scented potato puree
I love halibut, especially when you can get the larger fish from very cold waters. The rich cooking method of poaching in Olive oil goes well with the delicate texture of the fish. Tomatoes and olives are readily available in the warmer months, the basil adds a Mediterranean feel to our local products and the acidity of the lemon balances well with the creamy potato puree.
In a medium sauce pot, place the olive oil, lemon, basil stems, and 1 tsp of fennel seed. On very low heat bring the temperature of the oil to 150° F. Next, place the halibut in the oil, nestling it on top of the basil stems for support. Cook for 12 -15 minutes until the flesh is starting to take on a white, opaque color. Remove the pan from the heat and let rest. Once the oil is slightly cooler remove the halibut and season with salt and pepper. In a small sauce pan on medium heat toast the remaining fennel seed until you can smell the aroma from the seeds. Next, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once the seeds are coated in oil, add the sliced olives, tomatoes, and lemon juice. Swirl the pan until the lemon juice and olive oil are emulsified. Season with salt and pepper and at the last minute add the small basil leaves. Place one nice dollop of lemon scented potato puree in the middle of the plate. Rest the halibut directly on top of the puree. Next, spoon the vinaigrette over the fi sh and let the juices drip down over the puree. Lastly, garnish the plate with the Julienne lemon zest.