Story last updated at 6/11/2014 - 5:53 pm
The season is most definitely upon us. For those of you who do not live in Juneau, the season is that time between May and September when magnificent ships come to town bringing 1 million visitors who are thrilled to see and experience our beautiful part of the world. I love the season. I enjoy the many new people I get to meet and the smiles of awe and shared wonder through their eyes. The enthusiasm visitors bring to our lovely city is infectious.
Along with the energy of a population surge, I also enjoy the many benefits mostly available during the summer. A particular pleasure is the fresh fish my husband brings home from his crew fishing trips. These are the best days. At least once in the spring, he will bring home a whole king for me to grill, and very often I am treated to fresh halibut. This year I've been fortunate to get fresh sablefish. A new recipe is coming for that, I can assure you.
This week, I wanted to concentrate on the lovely halibut. This is a fish for people who don't like fish. Its texture is tender and its flavor is light. It is very easy to cook and an extraordinarily versatile food. One can bread it, fry it, sear it, grill it, bake it or broil it. I've heard of bacon wrapping it. Trust me, I'll be trying that sometime very soon. My preferred method of cooking halibut is searing. I love the crusty outside and the moist, flaky inside. No matter what seasoning palate you choose, you'll have a wonderful dish.
As mentioned in last week's column, another benefit of spring is the abundance of fresh herbs and produce. We're just barely getting into the summer, which means there will be even more to come. I am eagerly anticipating those days. I currently am enjoying the exotic flavor and aroma of fresh basil. I can't get enough of the stuff. It's aromatherapy for me. My mouth waters when I smell it. I make up recipes just to incorporate fresh basil. It's not just for pesto.
Lemon is another of my favorite flavors. I love the smell of lemon, and the bright acidic flavor pairs perfectly with basil. I should clarify the only thing I don't like lemon in is my iced tea. The awesome servers at the Sandpiper Café know this well. When I am seated, they bring me a nice glass of iced tea with lots of ice and no lemon. It's telling that I eat there so frequently that they know what I drink before I've even ordered. I do feel a little spoiled, I must admit.
But I digress; this is a recipe about a delicious summer meal. It incorporates all three spring/summer flavors, halibut, basil and lemon. Add a few additional ingredients and voila! You will have a very delightful lemon basil halibut salad. It is light, refreshing and has hardly any calories and uses olive oil, the "good fat." Most ingredients are things I normally have in the house, lettuce, mustard, lemons, basil, etc.
This week I present a recipe that brings to mind sunny days and warmer temperatures. I encourage us all to take advantage of the bounty of the season and to embrace the energy that summer brings. They are what make Juneau unique, special and a great place to live.
Until next time ...
Eat and enjoy,
2 four oz halibut filets
¼ cup fresh basil, julienned
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of one lemon
¼ cup olive oil
Sea salt and course black pepper
Blend lemon zest, lemon juice and olive oil in small bowl. Whisk well and add salt and pepper. Set aside.
Pre-heat skillet to medium high heat. Season fish on both sides with salt and pepper. Add oil to pan and bring to temperature. Gently place fish in pan and let cook for 3 - 5 minutes, until well seared, turn and cook additional 3 - 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, cover pan and cook additional 3 -5 minutes until fish is firm and opaque in the center.
Remove from pan and set aside to rest. Baste fish with the lemon oil mixture while the fish is still warm.
Juice of one lemon
Zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon dried basil
Coarse black pepper
Combine lemon juice, zest and mustard in small bowl. Whisk in olive oil, dried basil and add salt and pepper to taste.
For the salad, use your favorite salad ingredients. I chose to leave out the tomatoes, but definitely add what you like. I used lettuce, cucumbers, yellow bell peppers, fresh basil and cauliflower.
To plate, toss salad with dressing to evenly coat. Place halibut on salad, drizzle with lemon baste and garnish with fresh basil.