I've tried for several days now (unsuccessfully) to post pictures from my Quilt Group Friday and finally had to move on...I'm not giving up, oh no...I'll try again but for today I wanted to share a few things and get back on track. It's been raining like the Dickens for the last week but last night it was torrential! We woke this morning to lake front property! The park behind our house is filled with water, increasing the value of our home by at least $100,000...if only we could sell it before it drains! We get the lake about a half dozen times a year and it's amazing how fast the ducks find it - they're out their swimming and quacking and driving Caesar Beezer The Wonder Dog crazy! Now let me bring you up to speed on the mister...he tried to pull a fast one...he mentioned to me that he needed new pj's (he lives in his pj's - he's a Hef-wannabe) so I told him we could pick some up on Saturday when we went shopping...and then he told me that he would be in LA on Saturday....LA? Curious, no? He just casually drops that - like he's going to get his hair cut or going to pick up cheese...he's just going to LA for the night...he claims he told me about this trip weeks ago...he did not...so either he's losing his mind, which is a real possibility, or he's trying to slip one over on me and get a weekend away to do what I don't know...but I'm sure it's not good! So after a thorough interrogation, he said it was a "bizzzznesss" trip and I said if he went it would cost him in more ways than one...he canceled his plans this morning and all is well again in Camelot.
There are only two ways to control a man...one is through food and the other, well, I think you know...and since I was a bit peeved with the mister and needed to get to the bottom of his planned subterfuge, I opted to "persuade" him with dinner...I could have made one of his favorites like elbow macaroni and canned tomatoes but I decided that I would give him fish...since he loves it and I only make it a few times a year...we eat salmon a lot but he doesn't consider that fish...only white fish is fish, the rest is meat-fish...go figure.
This is a lovely dish...braised artichokes, carrots and pearl onions swim in a flavorful broth with white beans and a basil puree...it gives the tender halibut a wonderful taste - and is guaranteed to work like truth serum if needed - one bite and the mister was spilling his guts!
Halibut a la Barigoule - Halibut with Artichokes - Adapted from The Balthazar Cookbook
2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 cup pearl onions (I buy them frozen)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 cans (14 oz.) quartered artichokes
1 cup white wine
1 can (14 oz.) chicken broth
1 can (15 oz.) white beans
1 1/2 lb. halibut fillet, cut in half
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Prepare an ice-water bath in a medium bowl and bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the basil and blanch for 1 minute. Strain, plunge the leaves into the ice bath, and reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Remove the leaves from the ice water and squeeze to remove as much liquid as possible. Place in the work bowl of a food processor along with the reserved 1/4 cup of liquid and process until smooth, green, and bright. Set aside. Wrap the coriander seeds, peppercorns, and bay leaf in cheesecloth to make a sachet. (I didn't do this, I like the taste of coriander seeds and so I just put everything into the pan.) Heat half of the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium flame. Add the carrots, onions and garlic along with 1 teaspoon of salt and the herb sachet (or just add the herbs if you're not making the sachet) and saute for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When the carrots have softened a bit, add the artichokes and wine. Bring to a boil and simmer to reduce the liquid by half, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in the beans and keep warm over a low flame while the halibut is cooked. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Dry the halibut fillets and season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper. Use a large saute pan to cook the fish. Heat the remaining olive oil in the saute pan until the oil smokes. Place the fillets in the pan and cook for 2 minutes per side. Transfer the pan to the preheated oven to finish cooking for 5 minutes, or until the fish just begins to flake around the edges.
Just before serving, remove the herb sachet from the broth, if you made one, if not just remove the bay leaf, and add the basil puree. Drizzle a bit more olive oil over the top. Stir well to combine and spoon the warm barigoule sauce into shallow bowls, and top with a piece of halibut. Serves 4.
"If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves." Thomas Edison