Feta and Basil Crusted Halibut with Garlic Wilted Spinach and Risotto

September 20, 2012

This dish is a revelation. I had been wondering how to prepare the halibut we picked up at the market. There were some leftover breadcrumbs from the eggplant parm Bridget made yesterday and another hunk of delicious local feta from Ron. My tastebuds led the way from there. A bit of basil, a hint of mustard, risotto–of course!– and fresh spinach.

Homemade breadcrumbs are so easy to make. Just bake slices of bread  at a low temp (300°F) until they’re really dry, then crumble them by hand or in a food processor.

I used full-cut steaks, but any cut of halibut should work for this recipe.

Feta-Basil Crusted Halibut

• 4 halibut steaks, cut of your choice
• 4 teaspoons dijon mustard
• 1/2 cup homemade breadcrumbs
• 100 g feta cheese, crumbled
• small handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
• 4 tablespoons olive oil
• a few twist of ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, feta, basil, olive oil, and black pepper.
Lay the halibut in an oiled baking dish and spread 1 teaspoon of mustard on each.
Cover the fish with the crust mixture, and don’t worry about some falling around, you’ll use it on the plate.
Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the halibut. You want to keep it moist.

Garlic Wilted Spinach

• 4 tablespoons butter
• 2 garlic cloves, chopped
• 4 handfuls of baby spinach

In a large skillet, melt the butter on medium heat, add the garlic and swirl around for a minute.
Add the spinach, stir, cover, remove from heat, and let stand for a minute.

Basic Risotto

• 2 onions, finely chopped
• 4 tablespoons butter
• 1 cup arborio rice
• 1/2 cup white wine
• 2-3 cups water or vegetable or chicken stock
• 100 g aged cheddar, grated
• salt + ground black pepper

Bring the stock (or water) to a simmer, and keep it hot on the back burner at low heat.
In a medium skillet, on medium-high heat cook the onions in 3 tablespoons of butter until they are soft, about 5 minutes.
Add the rice, stir, and add the white wine. Let it simmer until most of the wine is absorbed.
Laddle in some stock to cover the rice. Keep stirring.
Once the liquid is absorbed, laddle in a bit more stock. Proceed until the rice is al dente. It should take about 15-20 minutes.
Remove from the heat, add the remaining tablespoon of butter, the cheddar, and season with salt and black pepper. If the risotto seems too dry, add a few more tablespoons of stock.

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