You ever have one of those days when it takes at least three repetitions to understand what you are doing wrong? On Friday I found myself in the position of using a cooking technique that I've never done before: poaching fish in a frying pan inside an oven, removing the pan from said oven, removing the fish and then using the poaching liquid to make sauce. I am used to making a sauce seperately and/or cooking the fish on the stovetop. In the course of making the sauce I tried to move the now skin-sizzlingly hot pan around a few times. I grabbed the scorching handle THREE TIMES! It's a wonder I didn't do serious damage to myself. I think I'm paranoid enough not to do it again but sheesh! What does it take to get things in my brain these days?
The recipe itself was nice and basic: poached fish, a white sauce with wine and herbs. I can even claim it as a tribute to this month's blog theme: Eating Locally. The halibut was caught within a few kilometres of here. The sorrel comes from my own garden. It's probably as good as I will get for local food unless I make a seaweed salad or wait to the month's end for salmonberries. I think the fish dish was great but I'm a little disappointed in my sorrel which seems to have lost its sour edge. I'd repeat it with newer shoots a next time. Just remind me to wear heatproof gloves next time.
Halibut in Sorrel Sauce
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup water
4 halibut fillets (6 oz each)
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp butter
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Bring wine and water to a boil in a large oven-proof skillet that can hold fish fillets in one layer. Turn down the heat so that liquid barely simmers.
Cut a piece of parchment paper into a circle the size of the skillet. Butter one side of parchment paper and set aside.
Season fish fillets with salt and pepper. Place fish in the skillet and dot with butter.
Cover the fish with parchment paper, and tuck the edged of paper into the pan so that they touch the liquid and seal the fish.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes per inch of thickness. The fish is done when you can separate the flakes with a fork, but just a touch of translucency remains in the middle. Remove the fish to a plate and cover to keep warm.
2 tsp softened butter
2 tsp flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup chopped sorrel
Set the skillet with poaching liquid on the stove top over high heat, and reduce by half (about 5 minutes).
Mash flour and butter together into a smooth paste.
After the liquid has reduced, turn the heat down to low and whisk the butter paste into it until smooth. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil, stirring until the sauce thickens, 1-2 minutes.
Stir in the cream, bring to a boil stirring constantly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Take off heat, and stir in sorrel.
Pour the sauce over halibut and serve.
For the life of me, I can't remember where I found this recipe but I know it's from the Net. It recommended wild rice and asparagus as side dishes. Can't say I could find any asparagus to use but I did have wild rice on hand. I think it was a good flavour match even if the Frog didn't. I don't think he liked it very much because it was chewy and not starchy. A pity since it tastes so toasty and yummy. But that's okay because there's more for me ;-)