Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Pacific Halibut Meets Traditional Bulgarian Sides

Pacific Ocean Meets Earth: Dive into a culinary escapade that pairs Pacific Halibut with distinctly Bulgarian earthy sides, culminating in a gastronomic symbiosis you won't soon forget.

Must Try Main Courses

Embark on a culinary odyssey that takes you from the cold waters of the Pacific to the heart of Bulgaria with this pan-baked Pacific Halibut, accompanied by partly smashed potatoes, mushrooms, and grilled onion. It’s a beautiful tapestry of oceanic notes, earthy undertones, and smoky whispers.

Preparation Time: Approximately 1 hour, plus 1 hour cooking time.

Ingredients

  • 4 Pacific Halibut fillets, about 200 grams each
  • 600 grams of baby potatoes
  • 400 grams of assorted mushrooms (chanterelle, shiitake, button, portobello)
  • 2 large onions
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary

Method to Prepare the Food

For the Halibut:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C (356°F).
  2. Season halibut fillets with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
  3. Place the fish in a baking dish, adding thyme and rosemary.
  4. Initial Searing: Place the baking dish in the oven for 5 minutes. This initial high heat will help slightly crisp the fillets’ exterior.
  5. Reduce Heat and Continue Baking: After the first 5 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 160°C (320°F). Continue baking for another 7-10 minutes or until the fish becomes flaky and opaque. Use a fork to test for doneness; if it easily flakes, it’s done.
  6. Rest and Serve: After removing the fish from the oven, let it rest for about 5 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute. Discard the thyme and rosemary sprigs before serving.

For Smashed Potatoes and Mushrooms:

  1. Sauté the baby potatoes until fork-tender.
  2. In a separate pan, sauté mushrooms in olive oil and garlic.
  3. Gently smash the potatoes.

For the Grilled Onions:

  1. Don’t slice onions – grill them, or sauté whole.
  2. If grilling – grill on high heat, turning until they have grill marks.

To Assemble:

  1. Place the baked halibut on the plate.
  2. Add the potato and mushroom mixture beside it.
  3. Top with grilled onion rings.

Tips and Tricks

  • Don’t overcook the halibut; its delicate flavor shines when just done.
  • Use a potato masher to smash the potatoes partly, but not too much. We’re aiming for texture.
  • For the grilled onions, a cast-iron grill works best for those delicious grill marks.

Alternative Preparation Suggestions

  • Try using sweet potatoes for a different take on the smashed potatoes.
  • For a lighter version, you could steam the halibut instead of baking.

Storage Suggestions

Store the halibut and sides separately in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Interesting Facts

  • This dish marries Pacific Halibut – a fish not traditionally found in Bulgarian waters – with classic Bulgarian accompaniments like grilled onions and mushrooms.
  • Though globally loved, mashed potatoes are given a local twist here, added to the sautéed mushrooms for an earthy depth.
  • Pacific Halibut may be hard to find in Bulgaria and it may be only occasionally available in bigger food stores.
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