Pan-Seared Halibut with Spiced Lemon Confit, English Peas

Wild Alaskan halibut seared in clarified butter and topped with spiced lemon confit, English peas and fresh parsley, cracked pepper and crunchy sea salt..

For the Lemon Confit (Saveur Magazine)

2 lemons
1-1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon cracked coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cracked fennel seeds
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
2 bay leaves

Halve lemons crosswise and squeeze their juice into a bowl; set juice aside.

Thinly slice juiced lemons crosswise and transfer lemons, reserved juice, and remaining ingredients to a 1-qt. saucepan over high heat. Bring mixture to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

Remove pan from heat; let cool. Transfer lemon confit to a glass jar, cover, and refrigerate. Confit will keep, refrigerated, for 3 weeks.

For the Halibut and Peas

2 wild Alaskan halibut filets, skinned, about 5-6 ounces each
2 tablespoons clarified butter
1 cup English peas, shelled
fine sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
coarse sea salt for finishing

Gently rinse the halibut in cold water, pat dry and season lightly on both sides with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat until shimmering.

Carefully slide the halibut filets into the hot pan and sear without moving for 3 minutes.

Use a fish spatula to carefully turn the filets over and cook another 3 minutes (depending on thickness), basting all the while with the butter from the pan (the fish is done when it becomes opaque and easily separates into large flakes).  Transfer fish to warm dinner plates.

Quickly sauté the peas in the fish pan until just done, about 2-3 minutes.

Spoon some lemon confit over the fish, then spoon the peas on top of that.

Finish with coarse sea salt and parsley and serve immediately.

Pacific halibut is a bottom-dwelling groundfish that nestles into the sandy seafloor, often seen with only its eyes and mouth uncovered. Primarily found in the coastal North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea, it migrates hundreds of miles from shallow coastal waters to the deep, open ocean to spawn in winter. Most return, year after year, to the same coastal feeding grounds.

Most Pacific halibut are caught in Alaska where fishing for Pacific halibut is strictly limited to the bottom longlining method, which causes little habitat damage or bycatch. Pacific halibut is also caught using troll lines and bottom trawl nets.  —Seafood Watch

Mediterranean-Style Olive Oil-Poached Grouper

Inch-thick filets of fresh grouper are gently poached at exactly 120 degrees in top quality Spanish olive oil, thinly-sliced Meyer lemon, fresh Italian parsley and imported caper berries.  Freshly-ground black pepper and crunchy sea salt top off this Mediterranean-inspired, velvet-textured dish..

Deceptively simple, the key to success in poaching fish this way lies in ensuring that the olive oil is kept at a constant temperature throughout the entire process (about 15 minutes to pre-heat, and another 10-15 minutes to cook over low heat).  Use an instant-read thermometer to keep the temperature as close to 120 degrees as you can;  if the oil is too hot the fish will be tough and the flavors will lose their delicate balance.

“…Groupers, widely distributed in warm seas, are characteristically large-mouthed, rather heavy-bodied fishes that tend to remain in discrete areas. Some are very large fishes, attaining a length and weight of about 2 metres (6 feet) and 225 kilograms (500 pounds)—in some instances reportedly much more. Groupers are often dully coloured in greens or browns, but a number are brighter, more boldly patterned fishes. Some, such as the Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus), are noted for their ability to change from one to any of a number of other colour patterns. Also, in many species, such as the blackfin and yellowfin groupers (Mycteroperca bonaci and M. venenosa), individuals inhabiting deeper waters are much redder than those living near shore. Groupers are protogynous hermaphrodites; that is, they first function as females and later transform into males. Groupers are prime food fishes and also provide sport for anglers and spearfishers…”  –Encyclopedia Britannica

Gulf Snapper on the Half Shell

Fresh Red Snapper filets from the Texas Gulf are grilled and basted over an open fire until crisp and a  little charred on the underside..

Gulf Snapper on the Half Shell

To prepare, filet fresh red snapper (or redfish), leaving the skin and scales in place to form a protective “half shell” that protects the flesh from the fire.

Lightly coat the grill grates with olive oil, then lay on the filets skin-side down.  Without moving the fish, grill until the underside is crisp and a little charred, basting all the while with a compound butter.  The fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork.

Example Compound Butter for Grilled Snapper

4 ounces pastured butter at room temperature
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 scant teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1-1/2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice

Combine all ingredients together in a heat-proof bowl and keep near enough to the fire to keep it soft during use.

The single most sought-after offshore fish, Red Snapper are caught from reefs, rigs and banks along the entire Texas coast. Hand line, manual reels and electric reels are used, all equipped with heavy weights and multiple hooks. Bait with fresh squid or cigar minnows; live pinfish or pigifsh will catch larger snapper.

After years under protection due to overfishing, Gulf Red Snapper has made a welcome recovery.  The NOAA Fisheries Service opened a 48-day recreational season this past summer, with an estimated catch of some three million pounds (adults average from 2 to 5 pounds, but can be much larger).

Crispy, Oven-Fried Cod with Homemade Tartare

Wild Alaskan cod filets are dipped in melted butter with sea salt, black pepper, dried lemon peel and a bit of Old Bay seasoning, then rolled in freshly-crushed, unsweetened organic corn flakes (gluten-free).   Baked until flaky and crisp and served with a tartare of homemade mayonnaise, capers, gherkins and chives..

Crispy, Oven-Fried Cod with Homemade Tartare

Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus or true cod) is found mainly along the continental shelf and upper slopes with a range around the rim of the North Pacific Ocean, from the Yellow Sea to the Bering Strait, along the Aleutian Islands to a depth of about 900 meters.

Cod is very low insSaturated fat. It is also a good source of Niacin, Vitamin B12 and Potassium, and a very good source of Protein, Vitamin B6, Phosphorus and Selenium.

P.E.I. Mussels with Roasted Tomatoes, Green Garlic and Preserved Lemon

Sustainably rope-grown in the cold waters surrounding Prince Edward Island, these plump, tender mussels are steamed over a reduction of white wine, saffron and  preserved lemon, with green garlic, roasted tomatoes and shaved fennel.  Served over gluten-free, non-GMO corn pasta with fennel fronds and crunchy sea salt..

P.E.I. Mussels with Roasted Tomatoes, Green Garlic and Preserved Lemon

Consumed by humans for thousands of years, mussels are an excellent source of protein, vitamin B12, iron and selenium.

“Mussels must be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed several times before cooking; wild mussels will need to be scrubbed with a stiff brush to remove any barnacles, sand or grit and their beard must also be removed. This can be done by giving the beard a forceful tug with your fingers and pulling it away or by cutting it off with a small and sharp knife.

Rinse the wild mussels several times but do not let them sit in water, as freshwater will kill them.

Farmed mussels will have already been prepared for cooking and it will suffice to just give them a quick rinse under a running tap of cold water.” –

Trivia: the pale white meat indicates a male mussel, while the females are a yellowish rust color.