Story last updated at 6/12/2013 - 2:12 pm
That old axiom, “He never met a stranger” applies directly to my husband, Grant. He is one of the friendliest people I know and it seems he knows everyone. At the beginning of the visitor season many of his summer friends and acquaintances come back into town and stop by for a visit. Our house seems like Grand Central Station some days.
One thing I’ve learned is to be prepared for unexpected guests. Grant has finally started asking me if it’s OK to have someone come to dinner, which is a lot nicer than when he brought friends home like stray puppies. Of course I want to feed them all, but some days I just want to eat a bowl of cereal and watch reruns of Castle.
This particular evening I had taken out some halibut and was trying to get creative with it. I had seared, baked, grilled and sautéed halibut. What else could I do with it? In the distance I could hear Grant on the phone, which was not unusual, but then the shout came, “Sweetie can Louis and Mike come for dinner?” I had not started making dinner, so switching things up was not difficult. I replied with an enthusiast “Sure!” and set about preparing the meal.
Once again I stared at the fish, facing the dilemma of what to do. Since it would be the three fellas, I went for nachos. Everyone loves nachos and I had always wanted to try halibut nachos. I hit the pantry and pulled out the spices and necessary cooking equipment and got to work.
I prepared the fish by coating it in a Southwestern spice rub and searing it until it was cooked thoroughly. I then let it cool a bit and separated it with two forks. I prepared the nachos two ways. The first was individual tastings using small tortilla scoops and the second was as a big manly-man mound of nachos with a boat-load of cheese. They were garnished with fresh avocado, cilantro and tomatoes.
When Louis and Mike arrived, Grant and I were delighted to see them. I remarked there were three captains at my table and what a treat that was for me. These guys caught fish for a living and knew how it should be prepared. Needless to say they were a discerning lot. I served them the nachos and was delighted that three out of three captains agreed the nachos were a winning recipe.
This week I present a recipe that is easy to make, can be made ahead and assembled when you need it, and seems to impress charter captains: Halibut Nachos.
Until next time…
Eat and enjoy,
6 ounces halibut
3 cups nacho chips
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup black beans
½ cup shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
½ cup fresh cilantro, diced
¼ cup chopped tomatoes
1 medium avocado, diced
½ cup sour cream
Combine all spices in bowl and sprinkle onto both sides of fish. Preheat skillet to medium high and add 2 teaspoons olive oil. Once well heated, place fish in pan and sear for 3-5 minutes. Turn fish and cook additional 3-5 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool. Once cooled, shred with two forks. It should look like tuna salad.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place chips on pan. Cover with black beans, shredded halibut, chopped tomatoes, and cheese. Cook for 10-12 minutes until cheese is melted. Serve warm and garnish with sour cream, avocados, and cilantro.
NOTE: Add onions and jalapenos to your taste. Grant doesn’t care for them much, so I didn’t add them.
Kelly Moore, a.k.a. Midgi, writes and cooks from Juneau. Visit her blog, www.mealswithmidgi.com, for additional stories and recipes. She may be reached at midgi@