fat free opinions on a food centric life

Halibut with Veracruzana Salsa & Pasta

I’m on a a tomato pepper kick right now, so thanks for your patience.  It’s partly because of the weather, and partly because when I go to the store, I buy too much produce, and then have to make sure it gets used instead of ending sadly as a science experiment in my veggie bin.  Nothing new has grown in there lately, so I must be doing something right.

And thanks to Michael Chiarello for that.  Another recipe in his cookbook, Flavored Oils:  50 Recipes for Cooking with Infused Oils, is “Swordfish with Mediterranean Tomato Sauce and Linguini.”  It’s one of the only recipes that the Master of the House (MoH) actually requests.  “Can we have some of that fish in — you know — the white paper.  With the tomatoes?”  This would be the recipe he’s talking about.  I’m sure you can find the original in the “Great Places” area at Napa Style.  I, of course, was compelled to do something a bit different.  I can’t help it.

Somebody sends us Coastal Living magazine each month.  We don’t know who or why, but that’s cool, because it’s free.  And it has some tasty seaside type recipes in the back that I like to try occasionally.  In this May’s issue, “Veracruzana Salsa” caught my eye, and I figured I could use the halibut in my freezer and try this new salsa in the place of the tomato sauce called for in the Chiarello recipe.

I promise I’ll get off this toot and try to bake something with sugar and lots of fat calories. Maybe even tonight.  But for now, you’ll have to settle for this.  Oh, and yes, there are two kinds of pasta, because after going to the store twice, I forgot the linguini, so had to get by with what was left in two bags in the cupboard. *sigh* Don’t you just hate it when that happens?

Halibut with Veracruzana Salsa and Pasta

1 lb. firm, vine-ripened tomatoes, cored and halved
1 red pepper, seeded and halved
1 yellow pepper, seeded and halved
1 poblano chili, seeded and halved
1 T. olive oil
1/2 c. white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c. cilantro, chopped
1/2 c. Italian parsley, chopped
1/4 c. capers, rinsed
1 c. pitted Kalamata olives, halved
juice of 1 lemon
2 T. red pepper olive oil
Halibut filets cut into 4 pieces about 4 oz. each
8-10 oz. pasta, cooked al dente

Set oven to broil and heat for 5 minutes.  Prepare pasta and reserve.

  1. Prepare tomato, peppers, and chili as stated above.  Place cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Broil about 6″ from the heat for about 20 minutes or until skins are blistered and getting brown.  The tomatoes may be done sooner, so keep an eye on them and remove them earlier if needed.
  2. Remove from broiler, cool, and remove skin.
  3. Lower oven temperaure to 450 degrees and lower rack to a more central position.
  4. Cut peppers and chilies into strips and set aside.
  5. Cut tomatoes into large chunks.
  6. Loosely mix in a large bowl, peppers, chilies, tomatoes, onion, garlic, capers, cilantro, parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.
  7. Tear off 4 large piece of parchment paper.
  8. Place about 1/2-3/4 c. pasta on each sheet.
  9. Top pasta with a piece of halibut, then drizzle a bit of the red pepper oil over each piece.
  10. Top each piece of fish with 1 c. salsa.
  11. Bring sides of the parchment together above the layered ingredients and twist tightly.
  12. Position all packages on a baking sheet, and place in oven for 12-15 minutes.  The packages will brown as the fish cooks, and may puff up a bit depending on how tightly they are sealed.
  13. To serve, remove packages from oven, and place on dinner plates.
  14. Open each package and fold down the sides of the parchment a bit.
  15. Place a wedge of lemon inside and enjoy.

This is another one of those recipes that is easily adjusted to suit your own tastes and flavor combinations.  I highly recommend making the Chiarello recipe exactly as it is to start — and having said that, don’t rip your hair out with the parchment folding directions that I have only attempted once.  Since then, I just do the parchment however I like.  The fish still tastes great, and the pasta, after being cooked in all that fabulous flavor is something out of this world.  I’ve roasted lemons, I’ve used non roasted veggies, but the one thing that I’d recommend you not omit is the Kalamata olives.  There’s just something about that flavor…

So have some fun and take pictures of the packages you make, which I’m certain will be more beautiful than mine! And one of these days I’ll truly figure out how to not have yellow pictures.  I’ve tried all settings, but I guess haven’t been persistent enough.  Look closely — the halibut is under there somewhere.