As Executive Chef at Bernardus Lodge, Cal Stamenov is committed to using sustainable seafood in his menus. Here he shares his special technique for cooking fresh Alaskan halibut in a simple crust that's redolent of fresh herbs.
unsalted butter (soft)
assorted fresh minced herbs (such as chervil, parsley, chives, and tarragon)
6 to 8 ounce halibut fillets
russet potato (peeled)
fresh English peas (in the pod)
Fresh chervil sprigs (as optional garnish)
sherry wine vinegar
1 ½ cup
chicken stock or water
fresh sprig of rosemary
Combine the butter and herbs in a food processor and blend 10 seconds. Spread all but 1 tablespoon of the herb butter about 1/4 inch thick over the top of each halibut fillet. Refrigerate the fish. Reserve the tablespoon of butter for the onion sauce.
To make the sauce, slice the onion across the grain and cook slowly over low heat in the reserved tablespoon of herb butter until very soft, but not colored, about 30 minutes. Then add vinegar and cook the onions 10 minutes more.
Transfer onion mixture to a blender or food processor. Add the stock, butter, and the rosemary sprig; purée. Strain through a fine strainer and keep warm.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
Slice the potato into 1/4-inch lengthwise slices and place in a single layer in a roasting pan. Place the halibut fillets atop the potato slices, buttered side up. Roast for 10 minutes or until the fish flakes. (The potato is used to elevate the fish off the roasting pan; it's not meant to be eaten).
Shell the peas and blanch in well-salted boiling water, 2 minutes. Strain.
Spoon 1/4 cup of the onion sauce on each of 4 warm plates. Divide the peas and place atop the sauce. Arrange the fish fillets on top of the peas, herb side up. Garnish with fresh chervil, if using. Serve hot.