AUTHOR: Julia TITLE: On the Bone (Recipe: Seared Halibut with Morels and Red Wine) DATE: 4/13/2010 06:06:00 AM ----- BODY:
During the summer between my two years of business school, I had a summer internship in China and traveled with a few of my classmates. Their biggest complaint about the food was that there were too many bones. The Chinese tend to cut meat into chunks, on the bone, and cook it that way. They do this for two reasons. First, it stretches the meat farther. A single chicken, for example, can serve 6-8 people when butchered this way, rather than American 4. But more importantly, meat cooked on the bone tastes better: it has more flavor and is more juicy.

The same is true for fish. The challenge for fish, of course, is that the bones are smaller. They are harder to pick out, and have a greater chance of getting stuck in your throat. When I serve that has been cooked on the bone, I carefully remove the bones in the kitchen before serving. It makes the eating more pleasurable in that you don’t have to cautiously pick around the meat.

When I cooked halibut the other night, I topped it with morels and asparagus. The last thing on my mind were bones… I wanted to savor the earthy, meaty flavor of the spring-time treat. Since I removed the bones in the kitchen, I had nothing to worry about, and could eat with abandon.

Seared Halibut with Morels, Asparagus and Red Wine
2 halibut steaks
1 tbs. butter
1 pound fresh morels
1 large shallot, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 tbs. canola oil

1 cup red wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
2-4 tbs. butter
1 tbs. fresh parsley

salt pepper and lemon juice to taste

1.  Season halibut with salt and pepper.

2.  Heat a large skillet over medium high flame.  Add 1 tbs. butter.  When melted, add the morels, 1/2 the shallots, garlic and thyme.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook for 2 minutes wihtout stirring.  Stir a little and then conintue cooking for a few minutes more.  Add the sherry, and continue cooking until the liquid has evaporated.  Set aside in a warm place.

3.  Heat a second large skillet over high heat.  Add canola oil.  Pat fish dry and gently press into the pan. Cook for 5 minutes on the first side or until golden brown.  Turn over, turn heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes more, covered.   Remove fish from pan. Sprinkle parsley on top.

4.  Add the remaining shallots and red wine to the halibut pan.  Let wine reduce to 1/4 cup.  Add the chicken stock and reduce to 1/4 cup.  Remove pan from heat and swirl in butter, more or less to taste.  Season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

5.  Gently separate the halibut steak from the bone.  Pull out the main bone in the center, and the small pin bones on the each side.  Run your finger along the insdie of the filet to make sure all bones are removed.  Put the filet back together.

6. Serve halibut with sauce, morels and steamed asparagus.

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