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Halibut, Lobster, Orecchiette Pasta and Apricot Salad by Chef Jeremy Taisey.

 

One of my favorite types of cuisine is Italian. In this recipe, I am going to share a few of my favorite dish combinations. For starters, we are going to talk about buying fresh whole fish. There are many questions as to how to buy whole fish, so I thought it would be helpful for me to share what I do.

First off, I start by looking for a whole fish that has bright, clear eyes and good color. It should smell like fresh water or the ocean. After I make my selection, I ask the local fishmonger to fillet it for me. Once I have purchased my fish, I like to cook and eat it within one or two days maximum. 

Now comes the fun part! I love sharing these two fast and simple recipes - gremolata and soffritto. They sound complicated, but they are very easy to prepare.

Gremolata is an Italian garnish made with fresh ingredients and is prepared by using a blender. It consists of minced parsley or cilantro, lemon peel and garlic. It's used in dishes to add a fresh, bright flavor. I like to use the gremolata when I cook because it adds a light hint of flavor and it doesn’t overpower the fresh halibut.

Italian soffritto is typically made with diced onion, celery, bell pepper and tomato that is lightly sau-téed with olive oil. It is typically used to flavor soups and sauces, but it also goes well as a side with just about any dish.

I hope you have fun preparing and enjoying these recipes as much as I do.

Enjoy!

Prep: 45 minutes 

Cook: 35 minutes

Yields 4 servings

Making the toasted walnut garnish

2 ounces walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

Making the cilantro gremolata

1/2 cup cilantro leaves

1/4 cup mint leaves

1 lemon, peel only

1 medium shallot

Crushed red pepper to taste

1/2 cup olive oil

Combine ingredients in a blender

Marinate the halibut

4 each 6 ounce halibut filets

Coat the halibut with the cilantro gremolata and let it marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour.

Making the lobster and pea soffritto:

1/2 cup yellow onion, small dice

10 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup red bell pepper, small dice - 1/8 inch pieces

1/4 cup tomato, small dice

1/2 cup cooked lobster meat, large diced (you can substitute cooked lump crab meat)

1/8 cup pancetta, small dice

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 pound blanched peas

8 ounces orecchiette pasta, uncooked

Black pepper to taste

Place a sauté pan on medium heat until warm. Add butter and olive oil, cooking until the butter melts. Turn to low heat and sauté the onions and garlic until lightly browned. Add the pancetta and continue cooking on low heat for 2 additional minutes. Add the bell pepper and diced tomatoes and cook until the peppers are tender. Remove from heat and reserve for later.

Making the pasta

Take a large stockpot and fill it with 1 gallon of water. Bring the water to a rolling boil and add 3 tablespoons of salt just before the pasta goes into the water. Add the orecchiette pasta and cook for 8 minutes or until al dente.

Finishing the soffritto

Combine the pasta and reserved sautéed mixture.

Making the apricot salad 

2 fresh apricots, pitted and sliced

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 handful pea sprouts

Cooking the halibut 

While the pasta is cooking, season the halibut with salt and pepper and grill for 5 to 10 minutes depending on your preferred doneness (making sure that both the grill and the fish are well oiled). I recommend cooking the halibut to an internal temp of 129 F. Halibut becomes dry when cooked well done.

While the halibut is cooking, combine the ingredients for the apricot salad in a bowl and reserve.

Plating and serving:

While the halibut is cooking, heat up the soffritto and add the peas and diced lobster. Spread the finished soffritto on the plate and place the halibut on top. Spread a bit more cilantro gremolata onto the halibut. Finish by adding the apricot salad and toasted walnuts on top.

Full Ingredient Shopping List

4 each 6 ounce halibut filets

1/2 cup cooked lobster meat or you can substitute cooked lump crab meat

1/8 cup pancetta, thinly diced

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup olive oil

1 medium shallot, quartered 

1/2 cup yellow onion, small dice

10 garlic cloves, minced 

1/4 cup red bell pepper, small dice - 1/8 inch pieces

1/4 cup tomato, small dice

2 fresh apricots, pitted and sliced

1/2 pound fresh peas, blanched

1/2 cup cilantro leaves

1/4 cup mint leaves

1 handful pea sprouts

1 lemon, peel only

1 teaspoon lemon juice

8 ounces orecchiette pasta, uncooked

2 ounces walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

Black pepper to taste

Crushed red pepper to taste

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