Monday, May 13, 2013

Pepita Crusted Pacific Halibut with Cilantro Serrano Cream

Pepita Crusted Pacific Halibut with Cilantro Serrano Cream

Serves: 4
Pepita Crusted Pacific Halibut with Cilantro Serrano Cream  
My husband pointed out that I have published a lot of salmon recipes and that maybe I should branch out.  OK, maybe he is right (just this one time).  I try to make fish at least once or twice a week so I reached into my armamentarium and found this halibut treasure. Of course one could use other similar fish – mahi mahi, opah, cod, turbot and butterfish, which would be amazing if you can get it without flying to Hawaii.
What your halibut should look like...almost translucent
Halibut, the largest of the flatfish family (which includes sole and flounder), has firm, tight-grained white flesh and brownish-gray skin. The most common varieties are California halibut (actually a large flounder), Pacific halibut, and Atlantic halibut, though the latter should be avoided due to a depleted population. Halibut is available year-round but is best between March and September. Fresh halibut will smell like seawater. Fresh halibut fillets should seem translucent to light green in color. The fat can be silver, white, blond, or copper, but should not be green or yellow.
  • 4 (6-ounce) portions halibut fillets, skin removed
  • 1½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper (divided)
  • 2 tsp sea salt (divided)
  • ½ C all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 C pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds)
  • ¼ C canola oil
  • 2 Tb unsalted butter
  • ¼ C minced shallots
  • 2 tsp minced seeded Serrano pepper
  • 1 C half and half
  • 1 C roughly chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 Tb fresh lime juice 

Some of the key ingredients
Season all sides of the halibut fillets with the 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper. In a shallow dish, combine the flour and ½ tsp of salt and pepper. In a second shallow dish add the eggs. Put the pepitas in a third shallow dish or plate. Roll a halibut fillet in the flour, shaking off excess. Dip just one side of the fillet in the beaten eggs, then into the pepitas, pressing gently for even coverage. Set on a plate, seed side up, and repeat with remaining halibut. Cover loosely and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Pepitas....also called pumpkin seeds!

All the pieces in one shot

While the fish is resting, prepare the cilantro Serrano cream sauce. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Add the shallots and Serrano peppers and sauté for 1 minute. Add the half and half and cilantro and bring to a low simmer, stirring frequently, until reduced by half, about 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in lime juice and ½ tsp salt. Blend with stick blender or in a blender to smooth.  Keep warm.
Pepitas coating one surface of the fish
Preheat oven to 300 degree F. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the canola oil. When the oil is hot, add the fish, pepita side down, and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Flip over, then gently transfer the to a baking sheet fitted with a rack. Bake in the oven until the internal temperature of 145 degrees F registers on an instant read thermometer, about 6-8 minutes.
Toasted to a golden brown
Give this a try at your next opportunity. You will love the crunch provided by the pepitas with mellow wonderful fish and creamy slightly spicy sauce. Serve with a white Burgundy, Chablis, Chardonnay or Pinot Noir if a red wine is your preference.

Bon Appetit


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