Crispy Wild Halibut with Fried Jamón Serrano, Dijon and Green Peppercorn Sauce

Fresh filets of wild Alaskan halibut are lightly seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground pepper, then quickly seared in clarified butter over high heat until the skin is crisp and brown and the fish is moist and flaky.

Served over a sauce of Pinot gris, shallots, green peppercorns,  and Dijon mustard, finished with cold, cultured butter and brightened with a little fresh parsley.  Accompanied with some bits of fried jamón serrano for flavor and texture..

Crispy Wild Halibut with Fried Jamón Serrano, Dijon and Green Peppercorn Sauce

The North Pacific commercial halibut fishery dates to the late 19th century and today is one of the region’s largest and most lucrative.  In Canadian and U.S. waters, longline predominates, using chunks of octopus (“devilfish”) or other bait on circle hooks attached at regular intervals to a weighted line that can extend for several miles across the bottom.

Halibut have been an important food source to Native Americans and Canadian First Nations for thousands of years and continue to be a key element to many coastal subsistence economies. Accommodating the competing interests of commercial, sport, and subsistence users remains a difficult challenge. -Wikipedia

Loin of Rabbit with Pancetta, Porcini and Wild Onions

Loin of rabbit with pancetta, porcini, wild onions, garlic and sage..

Sauté pancetta in a teaspoon of clarified butter until most of the fat has been rendered.  Turn the heat up to medium-high, then add thick pieces of porcini mushroom and continue to cook until golden brown.

Season strips of rabbit loin with sea salt and freshly-ground pepper and add to the hot pan with garlic, onions and sage. Let the rabbit brown, but keep it to no more than medium doneness.

De-glaze the pan with an ounce of Armagnac and stir up all the brown bits with the edge of a wooden spoon. Add 1/4 cup of chicken stock and reduce slightly.

Reduce heat to medium-low and add a couple of ounces of fresh cream and a good spoonful of coarse mustard.  Stir until thickened, about 2-3 minutes.  Toss in some coarsely-chopped curly parsley and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.

Serve over rye spaetzle or egg noodles.


This post is part of Real Food Wednesdays

The Thing About Brussels Sprouts

In the same plant family as cabbage, broccoli and kale, Brussels sprouts have been cultivated in Belgium (hence the name) since the 1200’s.

Extremely high in Vitamin C and a good source of iron, a lot of people dislike Brussels sprouts, reporting that they have a bitter or sulphur-like flavor.  The objectionable taste actually comes from a compound called sinigrin (CAS 3952-98-5), which is released when the vegetables are overcooked.

So to ensure mild, sweet-tasting Brussels sprouts, simply do not overcook them..

Brussels Sprouts and Ham in Mustard Cheese Sauce

Brussels Sprouts and Ham in Mustard Cheese Sauce

Place washed, untrimmed Brussels sprouts in a covered steamer for 6-7 minutes until bright green but underdone. Shock the sprouts in ice water to stop the cooking process and preserve the color.

Trim off the stems and peel away the outer leaves.  You want the sprouts to be as uniform in size as possible, so you might cut the larger ones in half (or even in quarters) and leave the smaller ones whole.

Heat some fat (bacon grease, butter or leaf lard all work well) in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and Brussels sprouts and cook until both are well browned.

Add uncured ham and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.

Add fresh cream and coarse mustard (preferably homemade) and simmer until it sprouts are fork-tender.

Add cheese such as raw-milk cheddar with caraway seeds and stir to combine.  Add some chopped parsley for visual appeal if you like.

Season with sea salt, freshly-ground pepper and perhaps a few red pepper flakes and serve hot from the pan.

This post is part of the Pennywise Platter Thursday at The Nourishing Gourmet

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Fresh Fava, French Carrot and Arugula Salad, Mustard Crème fraîche

Lightly steamed fresh fava beans, French carrots and peppery arugula tossed in extra virgin olive oil and white balsamic vinegar and dressed with homemade mustard crème fraîche..


Fava, French Carrot and Arugula Salad

String and split fava bean pods and remove the beans. Split small round French carrots.

Steam the beans and carrots together in a bamboo or wire steamer until just barely done, perhaps 2 minutes.  Immediately transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process; we want the vegetables to be tender, yet cooked as little as possible to preserve the color and nutrients.

Meanwhile, make a simple vinaigrette of high quality extra virgin olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, minced garlic and slivered shallot.

Drain the vegetables and toss with arugula micro-greens and vinaigrette.  Season with black salt and coarsely ground pepper and dress with a teaspoon of homemade lacto-fermented mustard combined with a tablespoon of homemade crème fraîche (Crème fraîche is similar to sour cream, but thicker and slightly more sweet than sour.  Mix together 3 parts fresh heavy cream and 1 part buttermilk or plain yoghurt. Cover and allow to stand on the counter overnight before refrigerating).

Serve with toasted crusty bread if you like..

Rarebit Fiend

Each December when we were little, the family would drive the 25-or-so miles into downtown Chicago to see the displays on Michigan Ave,  Marshall Field’s 3-story Christmas tree and, of course, der Santa.  For me though, the biggest treat was always the late lunch in the main dining room at the Chicago Athletic Association, where I sat up straight (napkin properly in lap) and announced  to the (Saint-patient) waiter,  “I’ll have the Welsh Rabbit, please”.   Every single year.   Sweet, simple times, those.

Add a couple of poached eggs and some balsamic broiled tomatoes and call it dinner..

Adapted from a recipe by Alton Brown

Make a tiny bit of blond roux from flour and whole butter.  Whisk in worcestershire and stone-ground mustard.  Add beer (good ale or porter) and whisk until smooth.  Whisk in heavy cream and season with salt, pepper, cayenne and paprika. Fold in shredded sharp cheddar cheese and cook over low heat for several minutes, stirring frequently.  Serve cheese sauce over toasted ciabatta, foccacia or thick sandwich bread and top with poached eggs.

Dream of a Rarebit Fiend, ca. 1906

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