Monday, May 16, 2011

Poached Halibut with Spring Onions, Chorizo served with Romesco and Aliloli

With the warm weather coming on, I wanted to do a lighter fish dish for Mother's day and I was thinking Spanish flavors made sense. The first thing I was thinking was a play on two contrasting sauces - smoky/earthy/creamy romesco sauce and a bright/creamy alioli sauce. Then, I was thinking what makes sense for a Spanish garnish. In Spain, a classic combo is calcots (spring onions) and romesco sauce so had to do some spring onions. Finally, I was thinking a salty, crispy chorizo made plenty of sense as a textural contrast. Add it all together and you have a fun combo of textures and flavors.

2 pounds halibut (4 portions)
1 cup orange juice
1 cup white wine
3 cups water
Salt and white pepper
4 pieces thinly sliced chorizo or other salumi
2 bunches green onions

Romesco Sauce
6 plum tomatoes
1 vidalia onion quartered
4 cloves garlic
3 pieces white bread toasted
6 roasted almonds
1 tbsp smoked spanish paprika
1 dry roasted chili soaked in warm water - seeds removed (not spicy e.g. anaheim chile)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp sherry vinegar

4 cloves garlic
1 egg
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp sherry vinegar

1) Make the romesco sauce by placing the tomato, onion and garlic under a broiler. When the tomato/onion starts to get blackened, remove and place in a zip lock bag so it steams. Remove the rough skins from the tomato/onion/garlic and place all the romesco ingredients in a blender and puree it. Taste and re-season as necessary. The sauce should be creamy from the bread, earthy and rich from the onion, smoky from the paprika, and bright from the vinegar.

2) Make the alioli sauce by placing all the ingredients into a blender and use the aerate function. It will eventually turn into a nice thin mayonnaise sauce. Taste and reason as necessary.

3) Cook the garnish by crisping up the chorizo in a pan and setting aside. Cook the spring onions (cut in half) in the same pan with the chorizo oil with salt and pepper. Cook until just soft - about 5 minutes and set aside.

4) Poach the fish by bringing the orange juice, white wine, water, and salt/pepper to a soft boil. As soon as it comes to a soft boil, remove from the flame, add the fish, and cover. The fish should be finished in 8-10 minutes. I would check every now and again to make sure you don't over cook the fish.

5) To finish, add a circle of the romesco sauce to the plate. Add 2 whole spring onions , then the chorizo. Add the fish and finally top off with the alioli. It's a pretty complex play of flavors and textures, plus it's uber fun to eat. Leftover romesco sauce is killer to eat with chips or even just by itself!

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