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Monday, January 21, 2013

Halibut with Tomatoes, Kale, and Caremelized Onions.

It's easy to fall into patterns when cooking. I really enjoy the act of cooking, but it's often hard to be creative when you're coming home late after work and already hungry. So much of the time, as I've written about here before, I wind up doing some spin on "throw some sauteed vegetables on pasta." There's nothing wrong with that of course, but it's a fairly small facet of cooking, and doesn't always feel like preparing a meal. So last week, I made a conscious effort to branch out and make something that would be a little more elaborate and more fulfilling, but was still pretty quick and easy.  I had some nice tomatoes and kale from the farmer's market, and this dish turns them into something between a sauce and a garnish for some nice, flavorful fish.

1 lb Halibut (or similar white fish) filets, either skinless or skin-on
1 red onion, finely chopped.
2 medium-sized tomatoes (I used Romas),  coarsely chopped.
5-8 stalks kale, coarsely chopped.
3 cloves garlic, minced.
1/2 cup stock (fish stock would be great, but chicken or vegetable stock work just fine.)
1/2 cup white wine (optional)

White pepper
Chili powder (opt)
Turmeric (opt)

Coarsely chopped parsley, for garnish.

1. On a plate, pour enough flour to lightly cover your fish, add several healthy dashes of paprika and white pepper, and a pinch of each of the other spices, to taste. (If you like, you can also add a bit of grated Parmesan or Romano cheese). Mix thoroughly, then lightly dredge the filets in this mixture, tapping off the excess.

2. Coat the bottom of a large pan (cast iron is best, but I imagine nonstick will work fine too) with olive oil and turn to medium-high.

3.  When the oil is hot, place the fish in the pan. On one side, add the garlic and onions. Wait approximately 2 minutes, until the onions begin to become translucent, and then add the kale, leaving room to turn the fish. (If the pan is too small to accommodate both, you can cook the onions, kale, and garlic in a separate pan).

4. After 5-8 minutes, once the fish has formed a golden crust on the seared side, flip it to the other side and cook for an additional 2-4 minutes. If the kale seems thoroughly cooked, remove it from the pan.

5. Remove the fish from the pan. If the onions have browned, taste them to be sure they have the flavor you want and then remove them as well.

6. Once the onions are out of the pan, turn the heat up to high and add the stock. Scrape the pan vigorously with a wooden spoon to deglaze, and let the stock come to a boil and cook down.  Once it is boiling and appears mostly reduced, add the tomatoes to the pan and stir vigorously. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes.

7.  Turn the pan down to medium-low and add the fish, kale, and onions back to the pan. Cook ~1 minute, just until combined, and then turn off the heat. Garnish with parsley and serve. Rice makes a good accompaniment--for added flavor, replace half the water with stock and add some minced garlic and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

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