Beauty in simplicity, this was the modus operandi going into this dish. Utilizing a few ingredients, and treating them with reverence is an approach that I champion. When a dish is stripped back, you’re able to find clarity in flavor, and the essence of an ingredient is more easily understood. The various components on the plate should be working in concert to drive a singular point home for the one feasting upon it. This plate was crafted to emphasize the firm yet mild nature of halibut’s flavor.
I have a particular affinity for baby potatoes; their tender yet substantive nature is only highlighted by their ability to take on other flavors with grace. In this case, these potatoes were put into a sous vide bath with garlic, thyme, and butter, then transferred to an oven for a golden finish. The aromatic additions seep far into their fluffy interior, all while the buttery exterior gains a slight crispness from the oven. These will lend an aromatic backbone to the final dish.
French sauces are sometimes viewed as stuffy and excessively complicated to make, but onion soubise can be as simple as three ingredients, and as easy as letting onions cook in a pot. The goal is to break down the onions without caramelizing them, and that is achieved by utilizing your pot’s tight-fitting lid. The lid prevents moisture from evaporating out of the pot; instead it condenses on the lid and falls back into the pot, keeping a moist environment for the onions. You do have to stir the pot on occasion to prevent the bottom from browning. Blending the onions with cream gives the sauce a rich flavor and silky texture.
Bringing something fresh and earthy will help ground some of the other rich components on the plate, and up to that task is kale – quickly sauteed to retain its color and bite, with a liberal pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten the flavor up. The kale adds a slight bitter grassy note, and will round out the other dense flavors.
Flaky halibut placed upon fragrant golden stones of potatoes, and caught in a net of bitter kale, all swimming in a milky pool of onion soubise. This dish finds substance within the sum of its parts, and it’s the veneration applied towards these “parts” where this dish finds its soul.
|To Taste||White Pepper||Ground|
Melt butter over medium heat in a high sided pot. Add onions, and season with a heavy pinch of salt. Allow the onions to sweat for 20-30 minutes with pot lid on, stirring every few minutes to prevent the onions from browning. Once onions have softened, and lost most of their moisture to the pan, uncover and allow onion juice to evaporate off for about 5 minutes, stirring the onions frequently.
Add cream, stock and spices to the onions, and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes. Take pot off heat, and using a hand blender puree the onion cream mixture. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Wipe out your pot clean, and add strained sauce back into the pot to keep warm on a back burner.
|1||LB||Baby Potatoes||Washed and Halved|
Preheat sous vide bath to 190F.
Place in a sous vide safe plastic bag with garlic, thyme, butter and salt. Drop bag into sous vide bath and cook for 1hr.
Preheat oven to 450F. Heat up an ovenproof pan over medium heat near the end of the sous vide time. Dump contents of sous vide bags into preheated pan, and flip potatoes cut side down. Place pan in oven, and roast until golden (about 10-15min).
Fish & Kale
|1||Bunch||Kale||Washed and Stems Trimmed Off|
Preheat oven to 450F.
Slice halibut into two 6oz portions. Dry the fish off with paper towels. Season fish before going into the sauté pan.
Heat an ovenproof sauté pan over med-high. Add vegetable oil to the pan, and add fish skin-side once it’s begun to smoke. Sear the skin for 2-3min, then flip the fish flesh-side down, add butter and place pan in oven to roast for an additional 5-7min.
Pull fish out of pan, and allow to rest while you cook the kale.
Using the same pan, add kale and sauté in the residual oil. Squeeze a little lemon over the kale, and toss with tongs until lightly wilted.
Spoon soubise into bowl, and spread around the bottom. Layer potatoes over sauce, and place kale upon them. Finish by adding halibut upon the nest of vegetables.
- Rubber Spatula
- Stick Blender
- Immersion Circulator
- Cast Iron Pan
- Cutting Board
- Sauté Pan
- Fish Spatula
- Plating Spoon