Oven-Baked Halibut on a Purée of Carrot & Vegetables is a simple, yet sophisticated main course, full of wonderful flavors. It is essential that the fillets are as fresh as possible and similar in their size. Halibut is a sumptuous fish with great texture and big flavor. Leave it in the marinade and bake to perfection while the guests are enjoying their appetizers at your dining table. All the vegetable components of this dish, mise en place, so to say, can be prepared in advance and kept refrigerated. The earthy flavor of carrot purée goes particularly well with firm-fleshed white fish like halibut. Roasted bell peppers add the sweetness and hazelnuts some crunch. The quenelles of olive tapenade add light salty richness and depth to this otherwise light main course. The result: a terrific main course with a delightful blend of flavor, texture, color and substance. For a wine match, Greco di Tufo, a crisp white wine with notes of dried-fruit. Greco is one of the oldest varieties of grapes in Europe and has been cultivated for wine by the ancient Greeks in pre-Roman times. It paired really well with this dish.
Melt the butter in a saucepan or Dutch oven.
Add the shallot with some salt and pepper, sauté for five-eight minutes (eight minutes for onion, five minutes for shallot) on medium heat until translucent and fragrant, stirring frequently.
Add the garlic and cook for one minute until aromatic.
Add diced carrots, some salt and pepper and sauté for another five minutes, just to soften them a little bit.
Add two cups of low-sodium chicken stock to the saucepan and a bay leave. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender but not mushy.
Using a blender or food processor, purée the carrots by adding the remaining liquid until thick and smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to brighten up the flavors.
If not serving immediately, transfer the carrot purée to a glass bowl, cover and keep it warm in the microwave.
Steamed Baby Artichokes
Start by rinsing and brushing off the baby artichokes under cold water. This will remove the natural thin film an artichoke produces while growing that can give the choke a bitter taste.
Snap off the outer layer of petals of the baby artichoke until you reach the pale, yellow-green layer of petals. With a sharp kitchen knife, trim off the stem and remove the rest of the dark green stem that can cause a bitter taste if not removed.
Cut about one half inch off the top of the baby artichoke.
An optional method to preserve the color and prevent browning of baby artichokes is to soak them in lemon or vinegar water after trimming.
To Steam: Arrange the baby artichokes in a steamer insert or basket in a pot, deep enough to keep the baby artichokes above water. Sprinkle with some kosher salt. Cover tightly and steam over rapid boiling water until baby artichokes are tender. Depending on size and quantity of baby artichokes, steaming time can range from 15 to 20 minutes. Lift out carefully and drain.
When ready to serve, cut each artichoke into four pieces length wise.
Roasted Bell Peppers
Preheat your broiler with the rack positioned on the very top of the oven. Place the bell peppers on the roasting sheet.
Roast the peppers for 20 to 25 minutes depending on the size of the pepper, turning occasionally with the tongs to make all sides equally charred.
Once charred, transfer peppers into a bowl and cover with the plastic wrap, foil or a plate. The steam will help to release the skin easily in 10-15 minutes.
Peel the skin and cut the bell peppers into rectangular shape pieces and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degree F with a rack in the middle. In a bowl, whisk together the lemons juice, three tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and pepper until smooth. Pour the mixture into a seal-able plastic bag or a glass baking dish. Add the halibut and coat it with the lemon mixture. Refrigerate for an hour.
Remove the halibut from the marinade and arrange them on the prepared baking sheet and let stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes. Roast until the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 15 to 18 minutes.
To shape the quenelles, dip the teaspoon into the tapenade jar, scape one teaspoon of it and mold the tapenade onto the second spoon, then back onto the first spoon to make a nice oval shape and place the quenelle on the serving plate.
Once fish is cooked, scoop carrot purée in the middle of each plate.
Top with halibut fillet.
Place two-three pieces of sliced artichoke on the side of the dish and three-four pieces of roasted yellow and red bell peppers, some basil leaves or fennel fronds (optional), a quenelles of Kalamata olive tapenade and sprinkle with chopped pistachio on top.
Oven-Baked Halibut on a Purée of Carrot with Roasted Peppers, Baby Artichokes & Quenelle of Olive Tapenade
recipe detailsServes 4
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 (6-ounce) center-cut skinless halibut fillets
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Pistachio, roughly chopped
- 1 pound carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 medium size yellow onion or shallot
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 bay leave
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- 2-3 medium sized yellow and red bell peppers
- 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- Kosher Salt
- 4-6 Baby artichokes
- Kalamata olive tapenade (store-bought)