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RECIPE: Chef Evan Morgan’s
Pan-Roasted Halibut

Celebrate one of the Pacific Northwest’s most celebrated ingredients – halibut. Accompanied with a pea pureé this dish delivers those refreshing spring flavours we all crave after a long winter.

Chef Evan Morgan has broken this recipe down by component. As with any recipe this is merely a guide. Please feel free to experiment, make changes, have fun and enjoy. Don’t feel bound by any ingredients or flavours we use here. If you need or want to make substitutions go for it! Chef recommends reading through each section of this recipe before you begin so you become comfortable with the goal and desired results. This way there will be no surprises.

Order of preparation:

  • Gather Ingredients
  • Blanch Frozen Peas
  • Make Pea Purée
  • Clean Mushrooms
  • Clean Snap Peas
  • Cook Mushrooms
  • Make Beurre Blanc
  • Cook Fish
  • Heat/Glaze Vegetables while fish is cooking
  • Plate
  • Wow your Friends!

Ingredients (for 4):

  • 4 pcs Halibut
  • 1 kg Frozen Peas
  • 350 ml Whipping Cream
  • 300 g Snap Peas
  • 300 g Mushrooms (Crimini, Shimeji, Portobello, ect)
  • 200 g Unsalted Butter (cut into cubes and refrigerated)
  • 250 ml White Wine (any will do but something with light acidity will balance the dish well)
  • 1 Shallot
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 2 Lemons juiced
  • 2 sprigs Thyme
  • Salt

Halibut:
When selecting any fish, go to a trusted, reputable seafood market. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to the Fishmonger. Each piece of fish should be roughly 5oz/145g, fresh and smell faintly of the sea. Ideally fish should be purchased the day of, but understandably this isn’t always possible. Stored properly halibut can last up to 2 days in the fridge.

Pea Purrée:
For this step we will use a technique called Blanching. It is used to parcook vegetables (specifically delicate green ones) to protect them from changing colour and so they can be easily reheated. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add all the frozen peas and cook until bright green and soft, roughly 2 minutes.  Strain and cool the peas in ice water. Reserve half for later use.

Bring 300 ml whipping cream to a simmer, add the other half of the peas and cook for 2 minutes, transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. If the purée becomes too thick add a tablespoon of water to keep the blender moving. Once smooth adjust seasoning with salt and transfer to a container to store. Place a piece of saran wrap down on the surface of the purée to protect it. Cool down and store in the fridge until needed. This purée can be made up to 2 days before using.

Beuerre Blanc (White Wine Butter Sauce):
Thinly slice shallot and garlic. Add to a small sauce pot with the thyme and white wine. Bring slowly to a simmer to infuse the wine (20 min). Strain the wine and discard the thyme, garlic and shallot. Add 125 ml infused wine and 50 ml whipping cream back to the pot. Bring to a boil and while constantly whisking add the cubes of cold unsalted butter. The sauce will thicken into a rich velvety consistency. Finish this sauce with salt and 1 tsp lemon juice. This can be held warm while the rest of the meal is prepared but should be made as close to serving as possible.

Pea and Mushroom Ragout:
Feel free to use any mushrooms available. This dish would be delicious with Morels and Chanterelles but tastes equally lovely with easy to find Crimini and Portobello.  Cut mushrooms into small bite size pieces. Heat a pan over medium heat, add 1 tbsp unsalted butter and cook mushrooms slowly. Season lightly with salt and continue to cook until the mushrooms are tender.

Clean snap peas by using a knife to snip the stem end and peel down the sides of the pod to pull off the stringy fibres. Cut into bite size pieces similar to the mushrooms.

When ready to assemble, combine the peas, snap peas and mushrooms with 2 tablespoons of water and 1 cube of cold butter. Bring the liquid to a boil and allow it to reduce. By the time the vegetables are coated in a beautiful shiny glaze they will be hot and ready to serve. Add a pinch of salt and a splash of lemon juice to finish.

Cooking the Fish:
Head a heavy bottomed pan over high head. Add enough canola or vegetable oil to thinly coat the bottom of the pan, it should be shimmering and just about to smoke when you add the fish to the pan. Salt the fish evenly on both sides and carefully place the presentation side down into the oil. Leave it to develop a golden brown crust. Once the fish has the desired colour flip it over and turn down the heat to medium. Allow the fish to cook for roughly 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and place on a paper towel to drain any fat or juice.

Assembling the Dish:
Spoon some pea purée into the center of the desired plate and smooth into a uniform circle. Spoon the pea and mushroom ragout into the center in a small pile. Place the cooked fish on top and sauce with beurre blanc.

Finishing Touches:
This is an opportunity to add garnishes or final touches that can personalize the dish. Examples of this would be chopped mint, croutons for crunch and texture, pea tendrils, edible flower petals. The possibilities are limitless and experimentation is encouraged!