Halibut and Heirlooms – Bodacious Summer Food

It’s been a beautiful summer so far. Perfect weather in sunny CA.

I had a fantastic week. Two dinners with two dear friends both who sent me home with fruits of their labor: heirloom tomatoes grown with care by my friend Dan and CA halibut caught by line by my friend Jon. Yes, CA halibut caught by line. Dan is the master of the tomato garden, I can honestly say I have not had better tomatoes than his. Jon is the master of the sea. Who catches halibut by line, this was a big one, 15 pounds.

I wanted to eat both the tomatoes and the halibut quickly to take advantage of the freshness of both. So why not combine them together and top the dish with lovely fresh made pesto (I used basil, thai basil and almonds (instead of pine nuts) and garlic.

My friend Robert suggested adding some ascorbic acid (grind a Vitamin C tablet with a mortar and pestle) to the pesto to prevent oxidation and help to keep it green, even after sitting a while. He said to make sure it is pure Vitamin C (e.g., no rose hips or other vitamins) and use about 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. Briefly blanching and icing the basil will also help keep it really green.

It’s great to have foodie friends! Thanks guys!!!

Halibut and Heirloom
Halibut and Heirloom

I prepared the dish very simply, poached the halibut in water, with some white wine added, fresh parsley, thyme, cilantro and garlic. It poached for about 8 minutes. I removed the fish from the poaching liquid, patted it dry and then laid it down on the diced tomatoes and topped the dish with freshly made pesto.

Delicious, perfect for a summer dinner. So fresh and tasty.

The pesto didn’t overwhelm the fish but complimented the fish and tomatoes perfectly.

Enjoy!

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Bodacious Sous Vide – Thai Chicken

After my last misadventure of trying to make Sous Vide Chicken  I thought I’d try again. Lessons learned from the last time…. Don’t overfill the bags, leave enough time to process the chicken… Other than that it is quite simple, it just takes time.

sousvideingredients1

I found a recipe online for Thai BBQ chicken (it was a new one for me). I used it as a starting point. It was a good place to start as the recipe provided a base seasoning for the chicken and then instead of bbq’ing the chicken I cooked it using the sous method.

Directions

1. Heat the water to 62-64C in a large pot, fitted with a thermometer, that is large enough to hold the chicken.
2. Make the thai seasoning paste (recipe in the image below). I hand ground the paste with my mortar and pestle as I enjoy the process of hand grinding everything with a beautiful, classic piece of equipment. I truly believe the hand ground paste is far superior to a paste made in a food processor or similar piece of equipment.

sousvidechicken

sousvideingredients
3. Cut up the chicken into leg, thigh and breast portions. Reserve the backbone and innards for another use.
4. Pack the leg and thigh meat into one bag and the breast meat into another bag.
5. Split the paste between the two bags.
6. Seal and vacuum pack the bags with the FoodSaver.
7. Put chicken into the pot and continually check the chicken until it is done. You can tell how well it is doing because as it cooks the juices will be clear rather than red. It took about 5 hours to process the chicken. Yes it’s a long time but so worth it.
8. Remove the chicken from the bags and place on an ovenproof baking sheet.
9. Preheat the broiler in the oven.
10. Glaze the chicken pieces with a light coating of coconut milk
11. Broil for 4-5 minutes until chicken is nice and golden brown and skin is crisped up.
12. Remove and serve while nice and hot!

Enjoy!

sousvide