We received some incredible halibut from our local fish guy Travis at Montana Fish Company. We had an event where we needed a simple, recognizable fish, which could stand the heat of a buffet line. This fish did more than stand the heat, it was incredible. The fish was firm, moist, juicy and it did not turn dry or tough. We steamed the fish with some white soy sauce, yuzu juice and a splash of wine and water. This steaming liquid, really more of a shallow poach helped present the halibut in all its glory.
What is even more exciting is that after the event we had a portion of halibut left over, which in turn gave us the opportunity to work on some new dishes. We started off this morning working with the halibut, smoked balsamic vinegar, sorrel leaves and pumpernickel noodles. The ideas were sound the dish not so much. Time to try again. We opted to use some grated elements to pair with the roasted and then steamed fish. The grated elements were passionfruit, olive and ramp. While that base mixture is delicious it did not unite well with either cooking method of halibut. In fact, our banana-tamarind puree could not save that dish.
And so it took some slowing down and thinking about the pristine quality of the fish and its vibrant clarity too help us focus on a final dish. We pounded the halibut thin and then cut it into a rectangle. The halibut was then brushed with coffee oil and seasoned with flakes of Maldon salt. We topped the seasoned fish with leaves of Silver Buckle sorrel and accented it with Minus 8 vinegar. While the evolution from chaffing dish to final dish spread the span of less than 24 hours, the process and frustration in not being able to coax out something worthwhile much more quickly is difficult. Then again, 24 hours is not that long, unless you are me where an hour can yield 10 failures and seem like an eternity.