Friday, May 09, 2008

Halibut with Grapefruit Beurre Blanc (Page 310)

  • Date: Wednesday, May 7, 2008 -- 7pm
  • Location: Somerville, MA
  • Kitchen: Matty's Apartment
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: B

Years ago, when we were kids, my brother challenged me to come up with a non-liquid food item (a single ingredient) that couldn't be made better with butter. After much thought I came up with two suggestions. One, watermelon, and two, grapefruit. So I was surprised, to say the least, when I saw that this fish had a grapefruit beurre blanc with it (i.e. a grapefruit and butter sauce). We aren't talking about a small amount of grapefruit, or a small amount of butter either. The major ingredients in this sauce were a half a cup of grapefruit juice, a half a cup of grapefruit segments, and a stick and a quarter of butter. Doesn't sound great, does it? Indeed it was odd, but you know, it wasn't bad. It had the texture of a perfect beurre blanc, and it complemented the fish nicely. The richness of the butter was a little weird with the citrus of the grapefruit, but it grew on me. I would have been totally on board if the dish had just been the halibut steak with the grapefruit beurre blanc, but there was another component. The fish was sitting on a bed of shitake mushrooms, Belgian endive, and whole grapefruit segments. The mushrooms and endive were pretty tasty, but did they go with the grapefruit? Well, no. The combination tasted about like it sounds: odd. I should mention though that the fish was delicious. Halibut steak is very tasty and this was an excellent method of preparation. I had to cook it longer than indicated to get it cooked through, but my halibut steak was bigger than those suggested. It came out flaky and delicious with a yummy browned crust. Overall, this dish was unusual, but not bad. I think it would be improved my merely leaving the big grapefruit segments out of the vegetable mixture, or possibly even leaving off the vegetable mixture entirely.

Here is the recipe.

I have been in a bit of a funk this week and yesterday afternoon I had a little meltdown. I just didn't know what to do with myself. There are a lot of things I enjoy doing (math and cooking are the two that come up the most often) so I pretty much never experience the phenomenon of boredom. I just don't get bored. But yesterday I couldn't motivate to do anything. I tried to do some math, but I couldn't think clearly enough. I didn't feel like cooking, but I attempted to start some nasty anise-flavored cookies anyway (can you tell I am a little biased against that recipe already?). Five minutes in I discovered that my spice grinder was broken. I could think of tons of other things that I would enjoy doing under normal circumstances, but I just didn't want to do any of them. So, for the first time in a long time, I was bored. Bored and frustrated. Eventually I decided that what I really needed was to learn to do something new. I needed to pick something from The Book that was challenging and new to me. So I decided to start canning! There are about a dozen recipes in The Book that call for things to be canned, and canning is something that I have just never done. My family doesn't can, so I didn't grow up with it. After culinary school I was a little scared of home canning -- botulism and all. But it's in The Book, so I have to do it! I got my ass off the sofa and went to the store. I acquired a huge boiling water canner, and I embarked on the journey of making strawberry jam. I learned to sterilize, fill, and process jars. And three of my four jars came out with a perfect vacuum seal! I was so proud! It was such a feeling of satisfaction to look at my perfect little jars of jam. Plus, the jam is delicious! Yay for canning. My little project totally improved my mood. Now I am excited to try the rest of the recipes for preserves...

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