Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pistachio Crusted Halibut with Polenta and Sauteed Beet Greens

Woah, that's a long title.  I usually like to keep recipes to separate posts, but this was such a perfect trio that I wanted to keep the meal all in one.  This was comfort food at it's best.  One of my co-workers gave me a nice piece of halibut that her fella caught in Alaska.  The rest of the meal just kind of fell into place.  I really wanted to try polenta and I just recently learned that beet greens are amazing and had found some at the farms market last week.  So, with all that, I cooked!

For the Halibut
What you'll need:
about 1 pound halibut fillet
1/2 cup salted pistachios
1 cup corn meal
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 cups milk
2-3 tablespoons oil (I used canola)

Slice halibut into about 1 inch thick strips, then remove skin (if its still there).  Place fish in a ziplock bag and pour milk over top.  Let sit for an hour in the milk.  When ready to cook, preheat oven to 375.  In a food processor add nuts, corn meal, salt and pepper and pulse until pistachios are broke down into small bits, but not powdered.  In a baking dish, add oil so it coats the bottom with a thick layer, you may need a little more oil depending on the size of your dish.  Don't skimp.  Bread each side of the halibut lightly pressing the nuts into the fish.  Place fish in pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, depending of thickness, flipping half way.

For the Polenta
What you'll need:
1 cup yellow polenta (I got mine at Winco in bulk)
1 cup cold water
3 1/2 cups hot water (from tap is fine)
1 tsp salt
2 tablespoons half and half
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

In a medium to large pan, add polenta and cold water.  Whisk around a little, turn burner onto medium and add salt and 2 cups of the hot tap water.  Stir constantly until all the water is absorbed (5 to 6 minutes).  The more you stir and work the polenta, the creamier it will be.  Once water is gone, if you stop stirring, polenta should bubble, add remain 1.5 cups, half a cup at a time until water is again totally absorbed.  Now reduce heat to low, cover and let sit for 2 minutes.  After that, add half and half and cheese and whisk for 2 to 3 more minutes.  Polenta should be think and creamy and you shouldn't really see anymore grittiness.  Serve with anything from thick soups to meat sauces, anything goes!  

For the Sauteed Beet Greens 
What you'll need:
2 bunches beet greens (or 1 bunch beet greens and 1 head romaine lettuce. I only had one bunch, next time I will buy 2)
1/2 cup bacon bits plus 2 teaspoons of the bacon fat
1 cup sliced onion
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

Fry bacon (3 or 4 pieces. I like to use scissors to cut into pieces before I fry it, less messy than crumbling with your hands).  Remove from pan, drain fat leaving 2 tablespoons and add onion.  Cook onion until nice and browned and caramelized. Turn heat to medium and add vinegar, sugar and pepper.  Let vinegar bubble for a minute to reduce slightly and add bacon and beet greens.  Mix around until greens are well coated and begin to wilt. About 1 minute.  Add romaine and mix again.  Turn off heat and let sit for another minute.  Toss one more time.  Serve on its own or with polenta.  

Here are the pictures.  I didn't think I was going to get to blog these recipes because my camera was still having issues.  Kam fixed it after I had already began cooking, so I missed a few of the beginning photos.  You'll still get the idea.  I was cooking all this at the same time so I'm just going to run all the photos together.

After 5 minutes.

I would make all of these recipes again.  I think polenta will be experiment with much more this winter.  Call me crazy, but its rainy and yucky here in Spokane today and I couldn't be happier.  Sweaters and boots.  Just about time to bust out the old tights....summer was amazing this year, but I'm so happy its fall!  Enjoy!

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