Tuesday, July 31, 2007

It's good to be loved

After working the dreaded "6 to 6" shift (6am to 6pm), I rarely have any inclination whatsoever to step foot into the kitchen and do anything even resembling cooking. Usually, on days like this, the most work I do toward the preparation of my food is asking the person on the other end of the phone at Bullshead to cook my buffalo burger medium-well. It is on days like today that it is wonderful, nay, sublime to have someone who loves you decide she is going to take matters into her own hands and cook a fabulous dinner for the two of you. Today was one of those days, and I have the fortune of being loved by such a woman.

We are both always wanting to try cooking new things; new styles, new ingredients, new levels of difficulty. We have for while not been very big fans of fish and seafood, a tragedy I attribute mostly to us not having been exposed to it properly and not experiencing the right mixture of ingredients. So it is with that sentiment that we occasionally try to broaden our horizons in the world of underwater delicacies, such as my wonderful fiance did tonight. The recipe comes to us courtesy of the good people at Epicurious.com.

Milk-Poached Alaskan Halibut with Asparagus and Morel Mushrooms

It should be noted at the outset that we did not include the mushrooms. Morel mushrooms are expensive and difficult to find, and neither of us being a connoisseur of mushrooms, we did not know what would do in their place. The dish turned out great anyway. The recipe was also adjusted a little for the number of servings. 1 large halibut stake is probably enough for two people.

2 small or 1 large halibut fillets with skin (just over 1lb.)
1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup)white wine, preferably white burgundy
12 thick asparagus spears, peeled & trimmed
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Pat halibut dry and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. In large, heavy skillet over moderately high heat, heat vegetable oil until hot but not smoking. Add fish, skin side up, milk, cream, and wine. Bring to light simmer, cover, and place in oven until just cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove halibut from liquid, cover, and keep warm. Reserve poaching liquid.

While halibut is in the oven, cook asparagus in 8-quart pot boiling salted water until tender, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon or tongs, remove asparagus from water and transfer to large bowl. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and toss gently to coat. Cover and keep warm.

Place poaching liquid over high heat and simmer until reduced by half. Remove from heat. Divide asparagus between the plates. Peel skin off of halibut and place 1 fillet (or 1/2 a fillet) on top of asparagus on each plate. Spoon sauce over fish and serve.