Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dinner Impossible to Dinner Fabulous

Pan Seared Halibut with Lemon Caper White Wine Sauce and Saffron Rice: It might seem like a long title, but in reality this dish was pretty easy to prepare, really delicious and would make a lovely week-night dinner.

After a long day of yard work this Sunday, I looked in the kitchen to figure out what to make for dinner. We were starting to run out of things, so I was little worried about what I would come up with. I was so tired, it seemed impossible. After rummaging through my freezer and fridge, I found a couple of frozen halibut fillets, a lone lemon rolling around in the crisper drawer, some leftover chopped onions, and a jar of capers. Halibut is a mild white fish that is really versatile, and I knew that with the ingredients I had on hand, a lemon-caper sauce seemed pretty easy to top it off. Once I noticed white wine in the wine rack, I knew that couldn't hurt either.

Now I just had to decide what would go with it. White fish with white rice just didn't seem appealing to me, but yellow rice would at least give the plate some color. I remembered I had a packet of saffron threads in the pantry, so the rice would be pretty easy too.  I had some baby spinach, so I threw together a little spinach salad on the side and dinner was set!   Pretty tasty if I do say so myself. 

First things first, start the saffron rice, since that will take a little while to cook.  "Steep" your saffron threads in a little bit of warmed chicken broth before adding them to the mix.  Now, on to the details:

Saffron Rice (printable recipe)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 shallot, chopped
1/4 tsp. saffron threads
1 c. white long-grain rice
2 c. chicken broth

In a medium saucepan with a tight fitting lid, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallot and saute until it becomes translucent.   Add saffron and continue cooking for another minute.  Add rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until rice is opaque and starting to toast.  Add chicken broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Fluff with fork and serve.

Pan Seared Halibut with Lemon, Caper & White Wine Sauce (printable recipe)
2 halibut fillets, skin removed (about 1 lb. total)
2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
1 shallot, minced
1 Tbsp. capers
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 glove garlic, minced
1 c. white wine
Zest of a lemon
Juice of half a lemon

Pat halibut fillets dry with a paper towel. Combine flour, salt and pepper in small dish or on small plate. Heat oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium high heat until it begins to shimmer. When oil is ready, press top and bottom of halibut fillets into flour mixture, then transfer to hot pan. Cook halibut until browned, about 4 minutes, then flip fillet over and continue cooking until the other side has browned, about 4 minutes. Remove fish from pan and set aside.

Lower the heat to medium, and add the butter. Let the butter melt, then add the shallot, capers, parsley garlic and lemon zest, sauteing for about a minute (don't let the garlic get brown). Then add the lemon juice and white wine. Simmer over medium heat until the sauce has reduced by about half. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Pour over the fish fillets and serve immediately.

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