Recipe of the week
Halibut in coconut curry: An easy dinner with going-out flair
It’s halibut season again in Alaska, that time of year when our quiet corner of the state “suddenly comes alive,” says Maya Wilson in Alaska From Scratch (Rodale). Homer, a town at the tip of the Kenai Peninsula, is the halibut-fishing capital of the world, so we get a lot of visiting sportsmen by April, and even earlier, a lot of fresh wild halibut for our dinner tables.
“The main thing to know about halibut is that you absolutely do not want to overcook it.” The mild-flavored yet sturdy white flesh dries out easily, but “at medium-rare to medium, the center of the fish is glistening and almost opalescent, perfect to eat.” One way to achieve that is with a delicate poach, like this coconut curry recipe that’s a clear favorite among readers of my cooking website. I recommend serving it with steamed jasmine rice—“to soak up all of the lovely broth.”
Recipe of the week
Poached halibut in Thai coconut curry
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 large bunch greens, such as spinach, chard, or kale
Salt and ground black pepper
3 shallots, chopped
2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
1 cup chicken broth
1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
½ tsp sugar
4 fillets (4 to 6 oz each) wild Alaska halibut
¼ cup cilantro, chopped, plus extra for garnish
¼ cup sliced green onions (cut on the bias), plus extra for garnish
1 lime, divided
2 cups steamed jasmine rice (optional)
In a deep skillet with a lid, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add greens to pan and season them generously with salt and pepper. Toss greens in oil until they begin to wilt and tenderize. Remove to a bowl, cover, and set aside. Wipe moisture from pan and return it to heat.
Add remaining 1 tbsp olive oil to pan. Add shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until tender and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add curry paste, chicken broth, coconut milk, and sugar. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and cook until curry is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt, if needed.
Season halibut fillets lightly with salt. Place them in the pan, spooning some broth over the top. Cover pan and poach fillets for about 5 minutes (depending on their thickness), until medium-rare to medium; be very careful not to overcook them.
Distribute sautéed greens evenly among 4 serving bowls. Carefully place a halibut fillet on top of each bed of greens.
Stir cilantro, green onions, and juice of ½ lime into curry broth. Ladle some broth over each halibut fillet. Garnish with additional cilantro and green onions. Bring to table with a plate of lime wedges and a bowl of jasmine rice, if desired. Serves 4. ■