Pan-Roasted Halibut, Chanterelles with Pea Shoots

Dining date: 8/28/11

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I don’t cook with mushrooms a whole lot. In fact, I grew up not liking them, always pushing them aside on my plate. Now, I’m far from a lover of mushrooms (unless they’re truffles?), but I’ll usually eat them if put in front of me.

I stumbled upon some chanterelles at the Hollywood Farmers Market a couple weeks ago and just had to have them. I had no idea what I was gonna cook with them, but I was inspired to do something with them.

Taking my chanterelles home, I browsed through some of my cookbooks to figure out the rest of the dish. Immediately catching my eye was a recipe in Ad Hoc at Home for sauteed chanterelle mushrooms with pea shoots. It was relatively easy to do and I had most of the ingredients on hand. A recommended protein pairing was another recipe in the cookbook: pan-roasted halibut. My planning was done.

The two recipes, from Ad Hoc at Home:

Pan-roasted halibut

2 pounds halibut fillet, cut into 12 rectangular pieces
Kosher salt
Canola oil
Extra-virgin olive oil
Fleur de sel

Remove the fish from the refrigerator and let stand for 15 minutes.

Position oven racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Check the halibut to be sure all bones were removed. Season on both sides with salt. Add some canola oil to two large ovenproof frying pans and heat over high heat until it shimmers. (If you don’t have two pans, cook the fish in batches and transfer to a rack set over a baking sheet, then finish in the oven.) Add 6 pieces of halibut to each pan, presentation (nicer) side down, lower the heat to medium-high, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the bottom of the fish is golden. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 2 more minutes. Transfer the pans to the oven and cook for about 2 minutes, until just cooked through.

Remove the pans from the oven, flip the fish over, and “kiss” the second side for about 30 seconds. Transfer to a platter, and serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of fleur de sel.

Chanterelle mushrooms with pea shoots

2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons of finely chopped shallots
3 thyme sprigs
8 ounces small chanterelles or other mushrooms in season, trimmed and washed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4-1/2 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 cups pea shoots
Extra virgin olive oil
Fleur de sel

Melt the butter in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook the shallots for 2 to 3 minuntes, until tender. Add the thyme and mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are almost tender (if the pan becomes too dry, add a little of the chicken stock).

Add 1/4 cup chicken stock and cook, adding more stock as needed, about 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mushrooms are tender. Continue to cook until the stock is reduced to a glaze. Discard the thyme.

Add the pea shoots and stir just to wilt and incorporate, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with fleur de sel.

I began with the chanterelles, cooking them according to the recipe. I wasn’t too worried about this part of the dish; it was pretty straightforward.

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I was more concerned about the fish. I wanted to ensure I got a crispy, golden crust while not overcooking. The recipe called for the halibut to be cooked almost entirely on one side, carefully controlling the heat. It would only be flipped over at the end to finish the other side for 30 seconds.

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I was pretty happy with the way it turned out. My fish broke apart a little bit as I was flipping it and I wanted a little more browning, but temperature-wise I think I had it down. While a meaty fish, it stayed pretty moist. The chanterelles were delicious, and I really liked the bright crispness that the pea shoots brought to the plate. It was relatively quick to make too, always a plus. However, it was on the expensive side – the raw ingredients cost about $30 for the one plate.


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