One of the core principles of NoRecipeRequired is teaching you how to use basic cooking techniques to change and modify your standard dishes – and of course still have them be outstanding.  Seasonal changes present great opportunities to do just that, and here I’m going to show you how to “Autumn-ize” a simple seared Halibut recipe.  To do that we’re going to use some butternut squash and fresh apples, two ingredients that scream Fall to make a hash, on which we’ll server our seared halibut.  And while this is perfect for one season, it’s really easy to take whatever vegetables are in season and make a different hash in the same still all year long.  Hope you enjoy this one as much as I do.

Recipe Overview & Keys to Success

To make the best Seared Halibut with Butternut Squash Hash, try to make sure you do the following:

  1. The squash and the apple in the hash should provide a textural component in the dish.  You want them to firm in texture, as counter point to the fish.  That means just barely cooking them through; and you should probably err on under, rather than over cooked.
  2. Cooking the fish, is actually the easiest part of this recipe, but it’s critically important, as overcooked fish is not good.  Make sure you season it well with salt and pepper, and sear it in  very hot pan, so you can get a nicely browned crust the outside without overcooking the center
  3. Finally, I like to leave the hash just a bit soupy, rather than dry.  Leaving a bit of chicken stock, that you can thicken at the end with a pat of butter, provides a nice sauce, and ensures that the dish won’t be dry

RECIPE FOR SEARED HALIBUT WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH HASH

Ingredients (for 2)

  • 2 8oz halibut filets, skinned
  • 1 cup butternut squash diced into centimeter cubes
  • 1/3 cup apple diced into the same size as the squash
  • 1 strip of bacon – chopped into lardons
  • 1 diced shallot
  • 2 diced garlic cloves
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Seared Halibut with Butternut Squash

  • Start making the hash by bringing a small pot of boiling salted water to the boil
  • Add the diced squash, and allow them to boil for about one and a half minutes; you looking to just cook them about half way
  • While they cook, fill a bowl with cold water, and a few ice cubes, and once the squash has boiled for 1.5 minutes, drain them and drop them in the cold water to stop the cooking process
  • Once cool, drain the squash again, and move to a bowl to hold
  • Dice the apples, move them to a bowl and squeeze some lemon juice over them, and toss to coat each piece.  That will keep the apple from turning brown
  • Add the chopped bacon to a sauté pan, and cook until crisp
  • Add the squash and the apple to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and turn the heat to high
  • Put another pan on high heat in preparation to cook the fish, and then add the chicken stock to the pan with the squash
  • You want the chicken stock to reduce by half, while you cook the fish
  • Once the pan for the fish is hot, coat the bottom with olive oil, and add the halibut, that you’ve seasoned on both sides with salt and pepper
  • You should get a loud sizzle (if not, remove the fish, and let the pan get hotter
  • Sear the fish on that one side, without touching or moving it for 3 – 4 minutes, then flip and sear the other side for about 2 minutes, or until the halibut is just cooked through
  • Once the chicken stock is reduced by half, turn off the heat
  • Add the butter to hash, and stir it in, along with the parsley
  • Taste the hash, and adjust the salt and pepper if needed
  • Lay a few spoonfuls of the hash on the plate, and then the halibut on top, and you’re good to go

I really loved this dish and I hope you do to.  Try tomatoes in the Summer, Asparagus in spring,  Mushrooms in winter, or anything else you can think of.

Wine Recommendation: While I think a lot of wines would go really well with this Halibut recipe, I like a California Chardonnay.  The dish itself is pretty light, but the flavors are strong and can stand up to a full bodied wine.  The oak notes typically in Chardonnay should also go nicely with the butternut squash, and the floral notes from the apples.