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PAN-ROASTED HALIBUT WITH SPINACH RISOTTO

Recipe Source: Chef Craig Flinn

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Halibut is a wonderful fish that has a firm texture and is easy to handle. Over-cooking it is criminal and a simple technique of pan roasting and finishing it in a low-heat oven prevents the wonderful white flesh from becoming too dry. In springtime I like to garnish this dish with asparagus and steamed mussels.

For the halibut:

6 X 7 oz (220g) fresh line caught halibut fillets (boneless fillets about 1 ¼ inch thick are best)
2 tbsp (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
¼ tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp (3 mL) fleur de sel or other high quality sea salt

Place the olive oil in a pre-heated non-stick pan and sear the halibut fillets on one side for approximately 3 minutes until they begin to turn golden brown. Flip each fillet carefully and add the butter to the pan. Season the tops with pepper and place the pan in a 275 F oven for about 6 minutes (this will depend on the thickness). When the color is white but the fish still has a small amount of “give” when pressed on the top, the fish is done. Season with fleur de sel and spoon the pan drippings over the top.

For the risotto:

8 oz (225 g) fresh cleaned spinach leaves
1/4 cup (65 mL) white wine
1/2 cup (125 mL) 35% cream
1 medium onion minced
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 tsp (3 mL) salt
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
2 tbsp (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1 cup (250 mL) Italian Arborio or Caranoli rice
1/2 cup (125 mL) dry white wine or vermouth
3 cups (750 mL) hot chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup (125 mL) grated parmesan cheese

Bring the wine to a boil and reduce by half, then add the cream. As soon as the cream boils, throw in the spinach and wilt it in the liquid, cooking it for 2 minutes. Pour everything into a blender and puree. Pour the spinach cream sauce into a bowl and set over an ice bath to cool as quickly as possible; set aside.