Saturday, February 18, 2017

Just for the halibut

Want a fancy dinner, fast? Think fish. Think thick. Think halibut.

Jim saw a nice piece of freshly caught Pacific halibut at our neighborhood grocery, Taylor's in Land Park. He got about ¾ pound, which was enough for the two of us and some leftover for lunch tomorrow. But he wanted to get on the road tonight (it was supposed to start raining in the morning) so he asked if dinner could be ready soon.

I cut two small Russet potatoes in half and put them in a cast-iron skillet, cut side down, in about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat. They cooked for 6 minutes, until they were golden brown. I put them cut side up on a microwave-safe plate, seasoned them with salt and pepper, and hit the 1-potato setting on the microwave (about 4½ minutes).

Meanwhile, I washed and put a big bowlful of baby Swiss chard (that I just trimmed from the big pot they are growing in) in a microwave-safe bowl and seasoned it with garlic salt. I put it near the microwave and waited for the potatoes to finish.

Then I heated a tablespoon of oil in a large cast-iron skillet on another burner. I seasoned the fish with salt and pepper and put it skin side up in the skillet. It needed to cook 6 minutes to get a nice golden crust, so while that was happening, I prepared the simple sauce: 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons capers, a sprinkling of whole thyme leaves and 2 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped finely.

The fish got flipped, I turned on the oven, and then I added the sauce ingredients to the pan. When the butter browned, in about 2 minutes, I scooped up as much of it as I could and put it on top of the fish, then turned the heat off (the fish would continue to cook as long as it was in the pan).

I put in the dinner plates in the oven to warm.

I checked the potatoes, and they were soft in the middle, so they came out and the chard went in, covered with a plate, for 90 seconds. It was still very green, so I gave it another 30 seconds. It would have been prettier if I left it very green, but I like my greens a little on the soft side.

I gently lifted the fish off its skin and cut it in thirds, plated it, the potato halves and the chard on the warmed dish and served it. Total cook time, about 11 minutes. Not bad.

It was simple, and simply delicious.

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