Seared Halibut with Farro, Chestnuts, Wild Mushrooms & Blueberry Balsamic Reduction

This was the fifth course to my 6-course New Year’s Day Dinner party for 8 people.

I really had this dish plated in my head much nicer than what actually happened on the plate. First, the fish market screwed me over with how they butchered the fish. Second, by this time through the meal, I already chugged down more than a few glasses of wine. Third, what the hell was I thinking when I put the reduction on the plate???

NEVERTHELESS, I loved the taste of the dish and so did everyone else.

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[100% organic]

For the Farro

  • 2 cups farro
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • Salt

Combine the farro, salt, and chicken stock in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the farro is tender, about 20-40 minutes. Taste often as it is cooking, you want it to be toothsome and retain some structure. Remove from heat, drain any excess liquid, and set aside. Reserve liquid for reheating.

For the Garniture

  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • Maitake mushrooms
  • Chestnuts
  • Parsley, finely chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut through the pointed top of the chestnut shell to allow steam to escape. Place the chestnuts in a baking tray and into the oven. After 15-20 minutes, the cut part of the chestnut shell will be curled back. Remove from oven, and wait until chestnuts are cool enough to handle. Peel the shell off the chestnut, and set aside.

Cut chestnuts into small pieces.

In a large pan, sauté the onions, then maitake mushrooms. Add in chestnuts. Season to taste. Add some chopped parsley. Add in cooked farro and mix thoroughly. Adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper. Keep warm and set aside.

For the Blueberry Reduction

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries, more for garnish

Crush berries until juicy and then add vinegar. Let the berry juice and pulp infuse with vinegar for an hour.

Pour blueberry and vinegar mixture through a very fine strainer to remove pulp and seeds. Bring strained blueberry vinegar to a simmer, whisking constantly. Reduce vinegar down until desired consistency. Mix in fresh berries and keep warm.

For the Fish

  • 8 halibut fillets
  • Butter
  • Thyme sprigs
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • Canola oil

Preheat oven to 500°F.

Heat up a very hot pan, without adding any oil. Once pan is hot, add in canola oil. Season fish with salt and black pepper on both sides then sear, skin-side down. Immediately bring heat down and wait until skin has a nice sear till you baste it in butter and thyme.

Once you have finished basting, and the flesh of the fish looks white. Cake tester it to see if the center of the fish is hot. If center is still cold, flash fish in hot oven, 500°F, for a few minutes.

TO ASSEMBLE

Scoop farro mixture onto plate, place fish beside farro and plate reduction around it.

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