STEAMED HALIBUT AND ASPARAGUS WITH CHIVE HOLLANDAISE

HALIBUT IS A MILD, WHITE-FLESHED FISH, DENSE IN TEXTURE WITH LTTLE FAT.  IT HAS A TENDENCY TO DRY OUT WHEN COOKED.  I'VE TRIED PAN-COOKING WITH LOTS OF BUTTER, POACHING AND ROASTING.  BUT I'VE HAD MY BEST LUCK WITH STEAMING.  IN THIS CASE, YOU WRAP THE FISH IN PLASTIC WRAP WITH SOME BUTTER AND HERBS, THEN SERVE IT WITH A HOLLANDAISE OR A BUERRE BLANC.  AND SINCE I HAD ASPARAGUS, I OPTED FOR THE FORMER.  

 1 lb HALIBUT
 FRESH TARRAGON, DILL, CILANTRO OR THYME
 1 ½ STICKS OF SWEET BUTTER
 1 LEMON
 2 EGGS
 10 ASPARAGUS
 FRESH CHIVES

1

TRIM ABOUT AN INCH OFF ASPARAGUS STALKS.

LAY EACH ASPARAGUS ON A FLAT SURFACE AND PEEL OFF THE TOUGH OUTER SKIN FROM JUST UNDER THE TIP TO THE BASE OF EACH STALK.

BOIL WATER IN DEEP-SIDED FRYING PAN. SALT GENEROUSLY.

MELT THE BUTTER IN A SMALL FRYING PAN AND POUR INTO A MEASURING CUP. ALLOW TO STAND SO THE MILK SOLIDS FLOAT TO THE BOTTOM.

SEPARATE TWO EGGS AND PUT THE YOLKS IN THE TOP OF A DOUBLE BOILER. WITH A WIRE WHISK BEAT IN SOME SALT AND WHITE PEPPER AND ABOUT A TBSP OF LEMON JUICE. DOT WITH A FEW SMALL PIECES OF COLD BUTTER.

LAY A PIECE OF PLASTIC WRAP ON YOUR WORK TABLE. LAY DOWN A FEW SPRIGS OF FRESH HERBS. TOP WITH THE HALIBUT FILLET. SALT AND PEPPER. TOP WITH A FEW THIN SLICES OF BUTTER AND MORE HERBS. WRAP UP THE BUNDLE AND PLACE ON A STEAMER IN A LARGE SAUCEPAN WITH 2 INCHES OF WATER ON THE BOTTOM.

COVER AND BRING WATER TO A BOIL. REDUCE TO A SIMMER. THE FISH WILL COOK IN ABOUT 8 MINUTES. IT'S DONE WHEN A SHARP KNIFE INSERTED IN THE CENTER FEELS WARM WHEN TOUCHED TO YOU LOWER LIP.

BRING WATER TO A BOIL IN THE DOUBLE BOILER. REDUCE TO A SIMMER. PLACE THE TOP WITH THE EGG YOLKS IN THE DOUBLE BOILER AND WHISK TOGETHER WITH THE BUTTER UNTIL IT THICKENS. TEST THE HEAT OFTEN BY FEELING THE BOTTOM OF THE POT. IT SHOULDN'T BE TOO HOT OR THE EGGS WILL COOK INSTEAD OF THICKEN.

PLACE THE EGG MIXTURE ON A TEA TOWEL SO IT DOESN'T MOVE AROUND AND BEAT IN THE MELTED BUTTER IN THE THIN STREAM, OMITTING THE MILK FATS ON THE BOTTOM.

BOIL THE ASPARAGUS FOR ABOUT 4 MINUTES OR UNTIL TENDER. DISTRIBUTE ON TWO DINNER PLATES.

WHEN THE FISH IS COOKED, UNWRAP IT. DISCARD THE HERBS. CUT IN HALF AND PLACE EACH PORTION ON THE PLATES.

CHOP ABOUT 1/2 CUP OF CHIVES AND FOLD INTO THE HOLLANDAISE. SPOON OVER THE FISH AND THE ASPARAGUS.

SERVES 2

Ingredients

 1 lb HALIBUT
 FRESH TARRAGON, DILL, CILANTRO OR THYME
 1 ½ STICKS OF SWEET BUTTER
 1 LEMON
 2 EGGS
 10 ASPARAGUS
 FRESH CHIVES

Directions

1

TRIM ABOUT AN INCH OFF ASPARAGUS STALKS.

LAY EACH ASPARAGUS ON A FLAT SURFACE AND PEEL OFF THE TOUGH OUTER SKIN FROM JUST UNDER THE TIP TO THE BASE OF EACH STALK.

BOIL WATER IN DEEP-SIDED FRYING PAN. SALT GENEROUSLY.

MELT THE BUTTER IN A SMALL FRYING PAN AND POUR INTO A MEASURING CUP. ALLOW TO STAND SO THE MILK SOLIDS FLOAT TO THE BOTTOM.

SEPARATE TWO EGGS AND PUT THE YOLKS IN THE TOP OF A DOUBLE BOILER. WITH A WIRE WHISK BEAT IN SOME SALT AND WHITE PEPPER AND ABOUT A TBSP OF LEMON JUICE. DOT WITH A FEW SMALL PIECES OF COLD BUTTER.

LAY A PIECE OF PLASTIC WRAP ON YOUR WORK TABLE. LAY DOWN A FEW SPRIGS OF FRESH HERBS. TOP WITH THE HALIBUT FILLET. SALT AND PEPPER. TOP WITH A FEW THIN SLICES OF BUTTER AND MORE HERBS. WRAP UP THE BUNDLE AND PLACE ON A STEAMER IN A LARGE SAUCEPAN WITH 2 INCHES OF WATER ON THE BOTTOM.

COVER AND BRING WATER TO A BOIL. REDUCE TO A SIMMER. THE FISH WILL COOK IN ABOUT 8 MINUTES. IT'S DONE WHEN A SHARP KNIFE INSERTED IN THE CENTER FEELS WARM WHEN TOUCHED TO YOU LOWER LIP.

BRING WATER TO A BOIL IN THE DOUBLE BOILER. REDUCE TO A SIMMER. PLACE THE TOP WITH THE EGG YOLKS IN THE DOUBLE BOILER AND WHISK TOGETHER WITH THE BUTTER UNTIL IT THICKENS. TEST THE HEAT OFTEN BY FEELING THE BOTTOM OF THE POT. IT SHOULDN'T BE TOO HOT OR THE EGGS WILL COOK INSTEAD OF THICKEN.

PLACE THE EGG MIXTURE ON A TEA TOWEL SO IT DOESN'T MOVE AROUND AND BEAT IN THE MELTED BUTTER IN THE THIN STREAM, OMITTING THE MILK FATS ON THE BOTTOM.

BOIL THE ASPARAGUS FOR ABOUT 4 MINUTES OR UNTIL TENDER. DISTRIBUTE ON TWO DINNER PLATES.

WHEN THE FISH IS COOKED, UNWRAP IT. DISCARD THE HERBS. CUT IN HALF AND PLACE EACH PORTION ON THE PLATES.

CHOP ABOUT 1/2 CUP OF CHIVES AND FOLD INTO THE HOLLANDAISE. SPOON OVER THE FISH AND THE ASPARAGUS.

SERVES 2

STEAMED HALIBUT AND ASPARAGUS WITH CHIVE HOLLANDAISE
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