Healthy Living: Seared Halibut with Pea-Fava Puree
I apologize for all of you who are sick of my fava-pea kick. Sorry! I've gone a little crazy, I confess, but they are so stinkin' delicious, I just can't help myself! My poor husband Brandon has had to eat peas and favas now more times in the past month than I care to count, but he's been a good sport about it...[recipe:best-seared-halibut-pea-fava-bean-puree-recipe]
My favorite way to enjoy favas and peas (besides the salad I wrote about last week) is in this lemony, mint-spiked purée. Once your peas and favas are peeled and blanched (this can be done a day ahead of time, FYI), just toss them into a food processor with mint, lemon, red pepper flakes, extra virgin olive oil, and some salt and pepper. Pulse a few times and you've got the most flavorful, brilliantly colored side dish imaginable. This is delicious slathered on toast or eaten as a dip with some crudités (radishes, carrots, peppers, etc.) but it is especially divine with seafood.
Photos by Signe Birck
This dish was inspired by a recipe I found on Epicurious several years ago. I've tweaked the recipe quite a bit and I've tried it with a variety of seafood: seared scallops, grilled shrimp, and all manner of fish–black bass, cod, hake, and Chilean sea bass. But my favorite is still halibut. I love the sweet, mild flavor of halibut and its firm, white flesh. It's so versatile and simple to cook. I know many people are intimidated to cook fish, but with a good nonstick skillet and a rubber spatula (plus the right seasonings...see recipe below), it's surprisingly easy. Just make sure not to over-cook it: you want a nice, golden crust on the outside with opaque flesh that is just cooked through. It should have a moist, silky texture, which is heavenly paired with the minty pea-fava puree. Sometimes I roast a few grape tomatoes, sliced in half, and serve them on top of the fish. But honestly, it's so good on its own that you don't even need them.
A note on buying fish: If it smells overly "fishy," that's a bad sign. Fresh fish should have a neutral smell. Buy it from a good fishmonger that gets in fresh fish daily. Also, look for wild halibut from the Pacific coast (or from Alaska). It is still abundantly available and therefore safe to eat. Anyway, hope these tips help! Give this recipe a try–if you prep your favas and peas in advance (i.e. the peeling and the blanching), this whole meal can be made in about half an hour: perfect for a healthy, weeknight meal or light, summer dinner party!
Photos by Signe Birck