Early this spring, I begged Beryl to plant a couple warm climate plants like peppers and eggplants. She tried to convince me that ours is not a warm climate and they would probably just take up space, but I insisted that she try (I wanted to see what would happen). She eventually consented and planted me one gypsy pepper, one asian eggplant, and one poblano pepper. She referred to them as “Talley’s” plants. Little did either of us know that we’d have record heat this summer in Seattle, and we ended up with three healthy plants, hanging with peppers and eggplants aplenty.
Tonight, we used up the last two of the gypsy peppers we got by making a sort of pipérade (without tomatoes) as a bed for a simple baked halibut filet. The long gentle cooking of the peppers brought out their natural sweetness, and herbs and garlic completed the package.
The halibut is quickly marinated with a lemon juice mixture before being baked at relatively high heat. During the bake, the peppers and onions caramelized slightly and provided a delicious contrast (both visually and in taste) to the rather mild halibut. To drink, we paired the dish with a Pouilly-Fumé, and I thought it worked quite well.
This time, we played with a photo technique that we are hoping to develop. We’d like to present visually striking time lapse sequences of some of our dishes. This one is not exactly “striking” per se, and I need to learn to stop fussing with the pan so much, but it was a start, and a learning process. Look for more of these as we improve our technique in the future!
Halibut with Sautéed Gypsy Peppers
- 2½ Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 red Gypsy (or bell) peppers, cored, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch strips
- ½ red onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- ½ tsp fresh thyme
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- ½ Tbsp garlic, minced
- 3 Tbsp parsley, chopped
- 2 Tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 2 Tbsp dry white wine
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 8 oz halibut filet
- 1 lemon, halved, for serving
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium low heat in a skillet. Add the peppers and onions and cook, stirring from time to time, until the peppers are soft. Add the thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, combine the lemon juice, ½ tablespoon of oil, and salt, and pepper. Add the halibut and marinade for about 15 minutes, turning to coat with the mixture. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
When the peppers are soft, add the garlic, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the basil and the wine. Cook for another 5 minutes. Spoon into a shallow ovenproof dish
Arrange the fish on top of the peppers and drizzle with the marinade. Bake for about 15 to 18 minutes. When cooking fish, I prefer to test doneness by inserting a metal rod into the fish (a thermometer works fine) and then placing the rod on my upper lip. I gather this is standard practice in restaurant kitchens, and it does give you a good idea for the internal temperature of the fish (more intuitive than a thermometer if you ask me). Sprinkle with the remaining parsley and serve immediately with lemon halves.