Sunday, June 28, 2009

//Dinner by Candlelight: Halibut cheeks over chard with a cherry-balsamic reduction


Usually, often, most of the time, I have enough self-control pulsing through my body that I will first photograph what I've made, and then, only after I'm sufficiently satisfied with the pictures, will I dig in.

Tonight was not that night.

It was the cherry-chocolate balsamic reduction (ladled over sauteed halibut cheeks and roasted chard, of course) that prompted me to pick up my knife and fork mere seconds after I had set the plates down on the dining room table. The curiosity of wanting to know what the sauce tasted like overwhelmed me to the point where photographing the meal didn't even enter my mind. It was only after I had used the remaining chard leaves to sop up some of the sauce, and then used my index finger to wipe the plate clean of cherry pieces and halibut flesh, that I even glanced in the direction of my Canon camera.

I can't say I was all that upset.

Dish No. 1 of 6 for "The Bounty of Blissful Berry Bites"

For Chard:
1 bunch of rainbow chard, stalks trimmed and cleaned.
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 300° F. In a shallow baking dish, mix together the rainbow chard, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Just before placing the dish in the oven, cut the temperature down to 250° F. Roast the chard until the leaves just begin to wilt. Be careful not to brown the pretty stems too much! Pull the dish from the oven and dress the leaves and stems on plates.

For Halibut cheeks:
2 six oz halibut cheek portions
Flour and butter for dredging
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Remove the halibut cheeks from the butcher paper, butter them, and dredge them in flour. Heat the 2 Tbsp of oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. When the oil spreads enough to coat the base of the pan, add the halibut to it. Wait 6 minutes before flipping it. Wait another 6 minutes, and then plate the fish on top of the rainbow chard immediately.

For Cherry-Chocolate Balsamic Reduction:
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup (scant) flour
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
15 ripe red cherries, pitted
2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp dark chocolate chunks
1/3 cup olive oil
Zest of half an orange

Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. When it begins to brown, add the flour and stir until all the liquid is absorbed. Add the balsamic vinegar, pitted cherries, brown sugar, chocolate chunks and olive oil. Stir until well-combined; then reduce the heat to a low simmer. If necessary, thin the sauce with a little extra vinegar. Before spooning it over the halibut, grate the orange zest into the pan.

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