Ours was a meeting of fairy tales. We met one balmy summer evening just up the coast from Santa Barbara at a resort that is the playground for the Hollywood elite (not so sure how we got in!). To the west the sun was just about to set over the ocean and had cast its shade of gold onto the mountains to our east. The soft air was gently blowing through the open windows and doors while the laughter of Larry David and Conan O’Brien spilled over from the tables behind us. I’m sure if I had listened hard enough I could have heard Oprah & Gayle just down the road at Oprah’s estate. It was magical. And it was in that moment, one of those moments when you wished you could will time to stop, that the love affair began. The kind of once you’ve had it you can never go back love. The kind of love that makes you want it all of the time. The kind of no matter how often you get it it’s just not enough kind of love. The kind of no matter how many times you’ve had it you want it again kind of love. Me and the CBB you ask? No, our love affair started a year earlier. I’m talking about my love affair with halibut. Yes, halibut. With it’s big white flaky pieces of perfection. Yes, halibut.
Tonight, for the first time, we had a rendezvous at home instead of in our usual public meeting places. And it went well!
For two days I’ve been scouring the internet and polling girlfriends on how to prepare it. I knew I could never recreate the master piece at San Ysidro Ranch so I decided to keep it simple. The key to cooking fish is for it to be fresh. That was covered so I knew I was in pretty good shape. I took the halibut out of the fridge about 10 minutes before cooking to let it warm up a little and sprinkled it with salt and pepper. Then I put about a tablespoon or so of olive oil into a frying pan and let it get good and hot, just shy of smoking. I then put the halibut in the pan, skin side up, to sear. This was the really difficult part for me. NOT TOUCHING IT! For six excruciating minutes I watched the clock and fought my urge to go flip it over. I resisted and it was worth it. Just like the sky the first night we met the halibut was perfectly golden. I let it cook for another six minutes on the other side and it was done.
Along with it we had broccolini and a version of a tapenade which was so good I needed it on top as well as on the side. I found the recipe here. She uses it to bake on top of chicken which I bet would also be delicious. In fact, I can’t think of much it wouldn’t be good with! As soon as I found the recipe and saw that it called for my use of the food processor AND I could use basil leaves from my basil pot from Trader Joe’s I knew I had to make it.
It was very easy as well. Basically you just put everything in the food processor – 1 cup kalamata olives, 1/4 sun dried tomatoes in oil, 1/4 pine nuts and 2 T of basil leaves – and process until smooth.
It was also delicious on a cracker with goat cheese 🙂
But then again, what isn’t?
I think it’s fair to say we’ll be eating halibut at home a lot more often! I’ll add the recipes to the food tab.