Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Pan Roasted Halibut with Sage

There are many great fats in this world, and the duck fat is the king of them all. It tastes like fall leaves and crackling fire -- there is nothing like it. I don't mind that duck has too much fat for its own good. Whenever I roast a duck, the fat leftovers go straight into the freezer for making confit, but if I only cook the breasts, the spoonful or two of extra fat go into the fridge and get used at the first opportune moment. Sometimes it's potatoes, sometimes it's mushrooms, but today I thought I'll do something more adventurous. I know what you are thinking --she can't be serious about cooking fish in duck fat! She sure can.

Seafood with bacon is a classic combination (though frequently abused in my opinion). And how is the pig closer to the fish than the duck? Come to think of it, duck can even swim :) You have to be careful when choosing fish for this dish. It needs to have a neutral flavor that doesn't interfere with the duck. Halibut is really awesome in this dish due to its silky texture, and what it lacks in flavor is easily compensated by the duck.

Fish substitutions: Cod, Monkfish, Striped bass
Note: Don't let the lack of duck fat stop you from making this dish. It tastes great with butter too.

Serves 4

2 Tbsp duck fat or butter (or a combination)
4 halibut fillets without skin (6-8 oz each)
Salt and pepper
10-12 sage leaves
2 Tbsp dry white wine
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Melt 1 1/2 Tbsp duck fat in a large oven-safe non-stick (or cast iron) skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Season halibut fillets with salt and pepper and add them to the skillet in one layer without crowding.
  4. Sear on one side until nicely browned, 2-3 minutes. Flip the fillets, scatter sage leaves around them in the pan, and finish cooking in the middle of the oven until you can separate the flakes of the fish with a fork, but a trace of translucency still remains in the center. The total cooking time (searing + baking) should be around 8 minutes per inch of thickness, but start checking 1-2 minutes before that.
  5. Remove halibut from the pan.
  6. Mash sage into the pan drippings using a fork.
  7. Set the pan over medium heat. Add wine and the remaining 1/2 Tbsp of duck fat or butter and stir until the fat gets integrated into the sauce, about 1 minute. Pour over halibut and serve.


Anonymous said...

I'm excited about all these great recipes!


Me said...

I have this bookmarked. It's my favorite halibut recipe. It never fails!