Sunday, August 19, 2012

Poach Like a Pro - Olive Oil Poached Halibut

Sometimes slow and steady really does win the race. If you're looking for a foolproof way to cook subtly flavored proteins, poaching is a great technique because it uses low heat combined with liquid to slowly and gently bring them to delicate perfection.
Photo: NK
Today, we'll be using an unexpected liquid element to poach our fresh Halibut Fillets - Olive Oil! Halibut is a firm, meaty, white-fleshed fish that is quite versatile. Because it is not particularly oily, this preparation gives it a lush, silky texture without adding extra heaviness.

Your fillets will emerge moist and perfectly cooked. Afraid of all that oil? Don't be. It's amazing how light and subtly rich the fish becomes. The technique of poaching works best when paired with simple flavors. 

This dish is perfect for a dinner for two or can easily be adapted for an elegant dinner party. Best of all, it's super fast and and easy. Your guests will be wowed. 

Olive Oil Poached Halibut Fillets
Adapted from Mario Batali
Timing: Prep - 20 minutes, Total Time 1.5 hr 
Serves 2

1 to 1.25 Lbs Halibut Fillet, skin on (2 portions 8 ounces each portions)
1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Organic Lemons, sliced very thinly into rounds
1/4 cup Italian Parsley leaves, plus a few sprigs for garnish
1/8 cup Salt Packed Capers, rinsed and lightly chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 250 with rack placed in the middle.
Pat Halibut Fillets dry and season with Salt and Pepper to taste.
Let the Fish sit about 10 minutes at room temperature.

Arrange Lemon Slices in a single layer on the bottom of an 8 inch square glass baking dish.
Place Fish Fillets over Lemon Slices.
Top Fish with all of the Capers, and place remaining slices of Lemon over the Fish.
Sprinkle with half of the Parsley.

Layering the Ingredients, Photo: NK

Next, pour all of the Olive Oil over the Fish.
Cover the baking dish with a lid or wrap tightly with one layer of aluminum foil.

Photo: NK
Place in the oven and bake for an hour.
Note: If you have increased the portions to serve more than two, check the fish at 1 hour but you may have to leave it in closer to 1.5 hrs.

When cooked, the Fish should be an opaque white and flake easily.

Top with an extra sprinkle of Salt and Pepper and keep some of the Lemon and Parsley on the Fillets when plating. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley and garnish with Parsley Sprigs. I spooned a teency bit of the cooking liquid over the fish to add extra moisture and taste, but this step is optional. 


Delicious Olive Oil Poached Halibut, Photo: NK

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