Thursday, March 26, 2009

73. Pan-Roasted Halibut Steaks

Date Cooked: February 14, 2009
Page: 505
Rating: A

Fish is not something that I cook often. I am intimidated by fish for some reason. I think part of it is that I am terrified that my house will reek of bad fish for days. The other part is that I am unfamiliar with the basic of fish preparation. So I figured if I was going to try cooking fish I should jump in with some expensive fish steaks. Let’s talk about the purchasing portion of this recipe.

The ingredients for this recipe are pretty straight-forward, halibut steaks, oil, salt and pepper. So, on a trip to the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto I decided to pick up some fresh halibut steaks. No wait… I was actually looking for fresh Tuna Steaks. After scouring the various fish market vendors and having them all tell me the exact same thing, that they were out of tuna for the day (which I have found to actually mean that they won’t pull anymore from the freezer), I started thinking of a plan B. I remembered the recipe for Halibut steaks and I figured that would be a good alternative to the tuna I was hoping to cook. So I once again made the rounds at the fish vendors, lots of filets but no steaks. Although one guy said they could cut me some to order.

I thought about it and said sure. I figured that the halibut filets were going for around 8-9 dollars a pound and I only needed two pounds for the recipe. So the fish monger pulled out this beautiful whole halibut from the ‘fresh’ stock (fresh equals defrosted recently) and slid it through the bandsaw. I always get queasy when I see industrial power tools used to handle food. Something just screams unsanitary. Anyway, as I always say, that is for the government to worry about, I’ll trust they are doing there job. In front of me he presented four lovely looking halibut steaks. And weighed them for just over two pounds, and then slapped a $60 price sticker on them. I was a tad shocked. I froze with panic and looked at my wife, she didn’t say anything and I knew this decision was on me. I was a little embarrassed to say the least. Here I am custom ordering this fish and gleefully doing so without even considering the price. Lesson has been learned. My biggest fear was less the money I had spent and more that I was going to try to cook fish for the first time with $15 dollar halibut steaks.

At home I began the dinner preparations. The fish was generously sprinkled with salt and pepper and left while the oil heated in the pan and the oven preheated for roasting. The steaks were seared in the pan for about 4 minutes and then carefully flipped and placed in the oven for about 9 minutes. The cooking times were straight from the book and I had no previous experience to base adjustments on. I didn’t know if I had thinner or thicker steaks.

Once out of the oven I plated the fish and pried the skin off carefully from around the edges and removed as many of the bones as I could. I dropped some of the Chipotle Butter with Lime and Cilantro on it and watched as it melted beautifully.

Rating: A. I was very surprised and proud on how the fish turned out. It was flaky and still moist and had great fish flavor. Halibut is a milder fish which I like and it was delicious. Will I make this again? Absolutely! Of course I will be careful to look for deals on the fish.

Monday, March 23, 2009

72. Chipotle Butter with Lime and Cilantro

Date Cooked: February 14, 2009
Page: 506
Rating: B

This was another condiment to serve with a main dish. This time the dish was going to be a fish one. I am becoming a slow convert to flavored butters and I am realizing that a simple preparation of food can be easily enhanced with a fancy condiment.

This butter was a quick mix of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce mixed with lime zest and some minced cilantro. This was my first time ever using chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and I thought I would like them. Apparently there is something about the smell that made me a little queasy… I was really concerned at first since I didn’t want to ruin perfectly expensive fish but my wife and mother-in-law both agreed it smelled fine and was actually rather nice. Seems it isn’t for me, which is sad because it’s used in several recipes in the book.

The one thing I loved about this butter though was how it melts nicely on the fish. Something very appealing about a small dollop of butter melting on hot food.

Rating: B. The way the chipotle peppers unnerved my senses is why the rating is just a B. Could have been higher without this feeling it instilled in me.

Monday, March 9, 2009

71. Pan Seared Strip Steaks

Date Cooked: February 14, 2009
Page: 388
Rating: A

Time absolutely flies by. I have been busy at work trying to accomplish everything that is required before my vacation and normally I would write up these posts during my lunch but that time has been sorely missed. Anyway I figure I should at least follow up that last post with it’s rather horrendous picture with something a little better.

Now a write up for pan-seared steaks is not really that exciting. I mean the process for cooking a steak is simple. But for all its simplicity it can lead to disastrous results. I patted the steaks dry and then seasoned them with salt and pepper. Once the pan was very hot the steak were added and allowed to cook undisturbed for a few minutes each side. Throughout the entire process though I was constantly being asked if I was over cooking them.

The steaks were set aside to rest while the pan sauce was subsequently burned and then re-done. Once the pan sauce was complete the steaks were dressed and served.

Rating: A. For some reason in my mind the only way to cook a steak was on the grill. This absolutely changed my opinion. It also made me realize that the cut of steak matters a lot towards its flavor and eating enjoyment. I will confidently prepare steaks in this manner again.
LinkWithin Related Stories Widget for Blogs