Baked Halibut with Yogurt Sauce
Every month, Jenn, the Leftover Queen hosts the friendliest cooking contest on the web: The Royal Foodie Joust! Three ingredients are chosen, and foodies and food bloggers from around the world compete for the coveted trophies of Best Picture, Most Unique, and Best Overall dish using those three ingredients.
If you haven't Jousted, I seriously encourage you to try. It's a fun, low-pressure way to stretch your culinary chops and see how three ingredients can spawn amazingly different recipes each month!
This month, the ingredients were yogurt, nuts, and mushrooms. I made a baked halibut, with a greek yogurt/sour cream sauce sprinkled with crushed macadamia nuts, sitting on a bed of thinly sliced criminis and shallots.
I used halibut because it happened to be on sale at my local fishmonger, but this would work with any firm white fish like cod or hake or grouper. I find that grouper and halibut can be interchangeable in recipes as far as technique goes, which is nice since one is northern and one southern. There is, of course, a difference in taste (though both are great!)
I started by cleaning the mushrooms and shallots, then slicing them as thinly as possible. I crushed some unsalted macadamias into nice chunky bits, then sliced some fresh dill until I had about a tablespoon.
For the sauce, I mixed 1 cup greek yogurt with 1 cup sour cream, added the dill, along with kosher salt, pepper, and the juice of a lemon, and mixed together.
On an ungreased, foiled baking dish, I layered a nice layer of thin mushrooms, then layered some thin shallots over that.
I placed the halibut over the mushroooms and shallots, then the yogurt sauce over that, making sure to cover every exposed part of the fish. Then, I sprinkled the macadamias over the sauce and put the dish into a 375 degree oven.
The fish baked in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, but depending on the thickness of fish, it could be more or less time. A thin knife inserted into the fish should separate the flakes, and the sauce can easily cover up the knife-mark. I turned on the broiler for the last 2-3 minutes to crisp up the nuts and bake the surface of the sauce a little more.
Plating was simple, as the whole meal involved lifting the layers with a spatula and placing it on a nice patterned dish.
Recipe: 1 pound halibut (or grouper, or cod or any firm white fish) 1 cup Greek Yogurt 1 cup Sour Cream 4-5 crimini mushrooms (baby 'bellas) sliced very thinly 1 shallot sliced very thinly 1 tablespoon chopped dill 4-5 macadamia nuts, crushed kosher salt, pepper juice of one lemon
Deconstruction: As the recipe shows, this is a pretty simple dish, showcasing the individual, yet complimentary flavors of the main ingredients. It also shows that this is a dish more of technique than ingredients. Do you like fresh oregano instead of dill? Or cilantro and lime? Easy to replace. Maybe a layer of bacon or prosciutto underneath instead of shallots? Or even some blanched spinach? The technique is the same -- yogurt/sour cream with flavoring, over a firm fish and additional flavors. It's still 25-30 minutes at 375, and easy to customize. Overall, it was a delicate fish, and I loved the earthy criminis and the bright dill. It was just very hard to photograph a white on white dish!