Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Poached Halibut With Apricot Salsa

Poached Halibut With Apricot Salsa Recipe

I am not an apricot fanatic so I don't do cartwheels when apricots arrive in the markets. But I do get pretty excited the minute I spy them each year for one, and only one, reason: their arrival enables me to make poached halibut with apricot salsa. This dish is mostly about the salsa but before we talk about the salsa, let's talk about poaching fish. It's a fast, idiot-proof way of preparing fish. And when I say idiot-proof I am referring to myself - give me a nice cut of fresh fish {especially tuna}and walk me to the grill and quite often this is what happens: I transfer what looks like an old leather shoe to a serving platter and mutter several f-bombs before declaring "never again" {until next time, that is}. But poaching fish is a completely different experience - no matter who is at the wheel, myself included - poaching yields a moist, done-to-perfection fillet.

Poached fish, though, is unadorned and requires some sort of interesting accompaniment and that's where the apricot salsa comes into play. It's a fresh blend of apricots, lemon juice, jalapeno, onion and a touch of the unique: toasted mustard seeds. The salsa delivers a punch of sweet, spicy and tangy flavor profiles. 

I've made this dish so many times that I just go into my kitchen and prepare it on automatic pilot ...chopping and daydreaming about who-knows-what {finding the fountain of youth! winning the lotto!} and then I suddenly I look down and see my work is complete yet I don't remember much of it. But last night was different. In anticipation of sharing it with you, I remained focused and looked at this recipe as if I were making it and tasting it for the very first time. Is it really good enough to share? Yes. Any other added bonuses? Yep. It's easy and quick {perfect for impatient people like me} and guilt free {proof that "guilt free" and "delicious" aren't mutually exclusive}.

Poached Halibut With Apricot Salsa

4 fresh halibut fillets, 5 oz each
1/2 lemon, cut into thin slices
salt, to taste
- and for the salsa
1 T canola oil
1 t brown mustard seeds
1/2 lb fresh apricots, pitted and diced
1 T + 1/2 T fresh lemon juice
1/4 c diced sweet onion
3 T chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and diced
1 t honey
3/4 t - 1 t salt, to taste

Put oil and mustard seeds in a skillet, cover and heat to medium-high heat.  Let the seeds pop and remove from heat once the popping sounds die down. Let cool slightly uncovered and then transfer to a bowl. Add the remaining salsa ingredients and stir. Taste and adjust lemon juice, salt or cilantro if you'd like.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  

Wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel and fill half-full with water. Add 1 t salt and the lemon slices. Heat over medium-high until gently simmering. Add the halibut and cook, covered until just opaque {cut to check}, 5 - 8 minutes. Season lightly with salt.

Divide salsa among 4 plates. Place warm fillets on top and serve.

Serves 4. 

Note: this recipe also makes excellent fish tacos. Follow the instructions and place fish and salsa in soft tortillas. 

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Source: Adapted from Sunset

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