Happy hour included!!

March 12, 2010

It's been weeks since I posted about a fish coated in cornmeal! I feel like I'm losing my Miss Cornmeal Hands street cred. Thank God I made this halibut the other day. And if you aren't a fan of cornmeal (um, you should probably be reading a different blog), the pistachio is really the star in the crust. And before you get all crankity about having to shell pistachios for this recipe, I invite you to do what I did: Buy a bag of pistachios in the bulk section of your market. Put them in a bowl. Set out a small bowl for shells and a 1/4 cup measure for the pistachios. Open a beer. Then play "one for the measuring cup, one for me." It's like happy hour! It's even fun the second time around, when you have to start over after spilling your beer into the measuring cup of shelled nuts. (Sad!)

Cornmeal and pistachio halibut with yogurt and asparagus, adapted from February 2007 Gourmet
Serves 2

2 halibut fillets, skin removed
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup shelled pistachios nuts
2 tablespoons cornmeal
splash of olive oil

1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup finely diced cucumber (removed the skin and seeds before chopping)
1 tablespoon chopped dill
1 small shallot, finely diced
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or red pepper flakes)
salt and pepper, to taste

1 bunch asparagus, ends snapped off
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Soak halibut in milk for 30 minutes, turning once or twice.

Meanwhile, heat oven (or toaster oven) to 425 degrees. Put asparagus on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast until asparagus is browned and crispy, about 15-20 minutes.

Combine all the yogurt ingredients in a small bowl.

Finely chop the pistachios, and combine with the cornmeal in a flat dish. Remove the fish from the milk and after letting the milk drip off, season the fish with salt and pepper, then dredge on all sides in the pistachio mixture. Heat the splash of olive oil in a cast iron (or non-stick) skillet to medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, cook the fish about 3 minutes per side.

Serve with the roasted asparagus and a dollop of the yogurt sauce.