Thursday, May 7, 2009

Grilled Halibut Kabobs with Mushroom Risotto

What do you do if you just found a beautiful fresh Northern halibut steak in an Oriental market?
Buy it, and then sit with a glass of wine in the sunshine, feeling torn between the many possible ways to prepare your fish. The challenge is to avoid the temptations of showy complex recipes and to select one simple enough to highlight the rich texture and delicate flavor or the fish.

Should I cut it up and marinate in lime juice with some chili and onion for a ceviche?
Or broil it with a teaspoon of lemon or herb butter on top?
Briefly braise it with vegetable or fish stock or white wine diluted with water?
Brush it with olive oil and grill it?
Yes, I'll grill it. It's nice and sunny outside, everyone should be grilling now. And the simplest seasoning will be the best.

The steak that I had was huge, almost two pounds, so I had to cut it up into portions. This way I also got bones and trimmings for the fish stock, and adding sturgeon trimmings from the freezer made the stock even more interesting.
I just dropped all the fish trimmings in a three-quart saucepan, added a chopped carrot, a chopped celery stalk, half an onion, and a bouquet garni (parsley, thyme, bay leaf). Covered everything with cold water, brought to boil, reduced the heat, skimmed the foam from the surface, added half a teaspoon of salt and 6-7 black peppercorns, and left the stock to simmer slowly for 30 minutes. I then strained the stock, divided it between covered glass containers (about 1.5 cup each), reserving 2 cups to make risotto, and put the containers in the freezer.

Then I looked at my halibut portions and realized that they will be very pretty cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes and grilled on bamboo skewers. So I cut the fish and put it back in the fridge for 30 minutes while I was making the risotto and soaking the skewers in a bottle of water.

Keeping the risotto warm, I removed the fish from the fridge, threaded it on the skewers, brushed with olive oil seasoned with salt and pepper, and grilled on a hot gas grill for about 2 minutes per side.

Mushroom Risotto
serves 2
1 Tbsp olive oil
6 oz white mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 shallot, minced
1 cup carnaroli rice
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups fish or vegetable stock, or water, plus more as needed
2 Tbsp heavy cream
5 drops truffle oil (optional)

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, cook stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add shallot, stir. Add the rice. Cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. Pour in the wine, bring to slow simmer, and reduce heat. Continue stirring until all the wine is absorbed. Start stirring in the stock or water in 1/2 cup portions, every time waiting for the rice to absorb all the liquid before stirring in the next portion. After about 20 minutes start testing the rice for doneness - it should be soft but not mushy. When the rice is done, stir it the cream and the optional truffle oil, remove from heat, serve as a side for grilled or broiled fish.
Halibut on Foodista


from my motorhome to yours said...

oh man 2 of my favorites!!, nice blog

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