Friday, July 6, 2012

Pistachio-Crusted Halibut with Spicy Yogurt and Green Beans with Lemon and Parsley

For the first time in a LONG time, I left work at 5:00 pm, which meant I had time to hit the grocery store on the way home, buy nice seafood, take the dog to the park, and then cook a nice meal.  In case you haven't noticed, we have been making mostly vegetarian meals lately, which is partially due to the fact that we have all of this wonderful produce from the farmers' market, but is mostly due to the fact that I can't commit to buying nice seafood or any other proteins when I don't have any idea if I will ever make it home for dinner.  I refuse to buy seafood or meat (both of which are expensive in NYC) and end up throwing it out because of work.  I hate throwing produce out, but that I can stomach because it's generally much cheaper.  Every time I go through weeks/months like this with work we eat a lot more tofu and pasta than usual because they require less planning and far less commitment on our part.  But because of the Fourth of July, this week was blessedly quiet and we actually had the opportunity to make a really nice meal for dinner!

And not only did we have the time to make a really nice midweek dinner, this recipe goes down as my favorite recipe we have made thus far in the month of July.  Actually, why don't we go ahead and include June too (seeing as we barely cooked in the month of June it's not much of an addition, but whatever).  Dinner was delicious.  The halibut was perfectly cooked and the pistachio-crust kept it moist, while adding some lightly crunchy texture.  The spicy yogurt sauce had a great blend of flavors.  It was tart, spicy, fresh and vibrant.  I loved it.  When you ate a bite of halibut dipped in the yogurt sauce it worked together brilliantly.  The green beans were a simple side dish that worked really nicely with the halibut.  They were fresh and green and lemony, and the simple flavors complimented/mirrored the spicy yogurt.  Actually, at the end of the meal Alex was dipping his green beans into the leftover spicy yogurt.  I guess they went with the yogurt even better than I thought...

Recipes after the jump!

Pistachio-Crusted Halibut with Spicy Yogurt
Adapted from Gourmet
February 2007

For Halibut:
2 (1 1/4-inch-thick) pieces skinless halibut fillet (about 6 ounces each)
1 cup milk
1/3 cup shelled pistachios, finely chopped
3 tbsp cornmeal
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For Spicy yogurt:
1/2 cup thick Greek yogurt
1/2 medium Kirby cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 generous tbsp, mint and flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon scallion, green and white part, finely chopped
1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp pimenton
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste 

Put fish in a shallow baking dish, pour milk over it, and chill, covered, turning over once, 30 minutes.  In case you were wondering, soaking fish in milk helps to get rid of the fishy smell/taste (and this goes without saying, but a milk bath is no substitute for fresh fish).

Meanwhile, stir together pistachios and cornmeal in a shallow bowl.

Remove fish from milk, letting excess drip off. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle all over with s&p, then dredge lightly in cornmeal-pistachio mixture. Transfer to a clean plate.

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook fish, turning over once, until golden and just cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes total.

While fish cooks, stir together all ingredients for spicy yogurt.


Green Beans with Lemon and Parsley

1/2 lb green beans (you could substitute haricot verts), trimmed
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp evoo
1 tsp finely chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves
1/2 tsp lemon zest

Trim green beans if using.  Blanch green beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 2-3 minutes.  Drain in a colander and toss into an ice bath to shock the green beans and stop the cooking process.

Toss beans in a bowl with lemon juice, evoo, parsley and lemon zest.  Season with s&p to taste.

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