Saturday, February 18, 2012

Pan Seared Halibut with Lemon Pesto Risotto

Lately my cooking has mostly consisted of quick meals thrown together, or frozen pizza.  Between work and school, I often come home and crash on the couch - immediately turn on my favorite shows (Monday: The Bachelor & The Voice...Tuesday: New Girl & Parenthood...Wednesday: Modern Family & American Idol...Thursday: Parks & Rec, The Office, etc.).  Add homework on top of that, and as you can see - that leaves very little time for cooking...much less blogging about my cooking.  So forgive me for my laziness and lack of spark lately.  Hopefully this dish will make up for it. :)

I rarely if ever make fish - but in the last month I've made fish tacos and now this halibut dish!  We are definitely a chicken and beef kind of family.  But fish is good every once in a while - I just don't really like "fishy fish"...but halibut is one of my favorites - especially fresh. The best halibut I ever had was in California - caught fresh that morning. :)

My one piece of advice for this dish is to cut WAY back on the lemon in the risotto.  It was so overpowering that it was almost all we could taste in the dish.  However it was still a fun dish to eat and make - and was very colorful on the plate!  I've made risotto a couple times now, and I still haven't mastered it.  I think I am too impatient for risotto - and the liquid never seems to cook down as quickly as the recipes say it should.  Hopefully someday I'll knock it out of the the meantime, let me know if you do :)

Pan Seared Halibut with Lemon Pesto Risotto

- 2 halibut filets (or more depending on how many people you are serving)
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 5 cups chicken stock
- 1 small onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp. basil pesto
- 2 tbsp. + 1 tsp. butter unsalted
- 1 bunch chives
- olive oil
- vegetable oil
- salt and pepper
- juice and zest from 1 lemon  (maybe half a lemon - not even, would give it enough lemon flavor)

For garnish: (optional)
- Cherry tomatoes, and shallots, chopped

Heat the chicken stock in a sauce pan. In a large sauté pan over med high heat, add in olive oil, onion and garlic and sauté until softened. Add in the rice, a bit more olive oil and stir to evenly coat the grains. Sauté for an additional 2 minutes and begin ladling in hot stock small amounts at a time, stirring after each addition. Continue this process for about 15 minutes or until rice is just about cooking through.

Remove from heat; add in the 2 tbsp. of butter, pesto, and lemon juice/zest. Stir to combine and set aside.
For the chive oil, place the chives in a food processor or blender with 1/3 cup vegetable oil. Blend for about 5 minutes until the oil has turned a bright green color, then strain and set the oil aside.

Preheat oven to 350F.
In a hot saute pan, heat olive oil and add in 1 tsp. of butter. Season halibut fillets and sauté 2 minutes per side, then transfer to the oven for an additional 4-5 minutes.

While halibut is cooking, sauté the cherry tomatoes and shallots, season with salt and pepper.

Source: adapted from Drew Cooks Catering

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