Saturday, May 19, 2012
Halibut with Spring Vegetables
Ramps are one of the more unusual vegetables found at farmers markets this time of year. Sometimes called "wild leeks," ramps' bulbs look like scallions but they have red stems and more delicate leaves. They're prized for their flavor, stronger than scallions and almost garlicky.
I've been looking for ramps at farmers markets for awhile. Recently, I finally I found some, although they came with a condition: the seller insisted I also buy her mushrooms. Fine by me, as I was sure the two would go together nicely. In fact, I found this recipe, which also calls for asparagus, and anchors the sautéed vegetables in a pea puree. Any type of mushrooms should work. I used the crimini from the farmers market and added some shiitakes from Whole Foods.
I took the recipe in a slightly different direction though, using it as an accompaniment for fish. I chose halibut for its mild flavor, which would complement the vegetables, but allow their flavors to remain the stars of the dish. I was inspired by Christine Cooks' simple recipe for roasting halibut with lemon slices.
Halibut with Spring Vegetables
Inspired by Greenmarket Recipes' Asparagus and Ramps with Crimini, Shiitake, Oyster Mushrooms and Pea Sauce
3/4 lb. halibut fillet
Olive oil spray
Salt and pepper
1/2 lemon, sliced into 4 slices, about 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
1 tbsp. butter, melted
8 asparagus stalks, trimmed by bending off tough ends, and sliced into 2-inch pieces
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 lb. crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/4 lb. shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch of ramps, roots removed and bulbs separated from greens
1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Rinse the fish fillet and pat dry. Spray a 9 x 9 baking dish with olive oil. Place fish in pan skin-side down. Spray flesh side with olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste, and place lemon slices on top of fish. Roast 18-20 minutes until cooked through. Divide fillet in half.
2. Heat a medium saucepan half filled with salted water until boiling. Add peas and cook about 2 to 3 minutes, until tender but still green. Remove peas from pan and place in a bowl of ice water. To puree the peas there are two options: 1) place peas in a food processor with melted butter and a couple tablespoons of salted water (use the water the peas were cooked in) or 2) use an immersion blender to puree the peas with the butter and a couple tablespoons of salted water. You'll probably need to transfer them to a narrower container for the immersion blender to work well.
3. Heat a large saucepan half filled with salted water. Add asparagus and cook for 4 minutes. Remove asparagus and place in ice water to cool.
4. Heat 1 tbsp. olive in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the sliced crimini mushrooms and cook until browned. Remove from pan and then sauté the shiitake mushrooms (sauté mushrooms separately to avoid over-crowding the pan). Remove from pan once browned.
5. Coarsely chop the ramp bulbs, and add to frying pan with 1 tbsp. olive oil. Saute until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Chop the ramp greens. Add the cooked asparagus and mushrooms to pan along with the ramp greens and cook another couple minutes to reheat the vegetables and wilt the greens.
6. Divide the pea puree in two and spoon onto plates. Top with half a halibut fillet and top that with the ramp-mushroom-asparagus mixture.