Posted by Stephanie Meyer on May 3, 2008 at 4:52pm

Heck if I’m not seeing green out my window, lalalaaa! Even if it snows again, that green isn’t going away until like, October, baby. Yes, we Minnesotans have officially stepped out of our dreadful black-n-white photo-prison into the alternate world we call Not Winter, like Alice Through the Friggin’ Looking Glass… Man, is it good.

As was the Halibut with Fingerlings, Fava Beans, Meyer Lemon, and Savory Creme Fraiche I made for dinner last night. I’ve been just itching to try this pretty recipe, from Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin (killer cookbook, seriously), and a visit from our friend Niko provided the perfect reason to give ‘er a scratch. The slightly overwrought name makes the dish sound complicated, but the steps are easy and can be completed ahead of time, so the actual plating is a breeze. I used small red new potatoes (no fingerlings at Whole Foods, where I knew I could find favas, easy enough trade) and fresh sorrel instead of savory (again, an easy and tasty substitution). The end result was tender halibut, delicious over crushed potatoes and fava beans, made zesty-creamy-glorious with spoonfuls of lemon-parsley sauce and rich creme fraiche. Lovely combo. Mmmm. Hmmm. (Recipe posted in comments, below.)

Niko crept out at the crack of dawn (not in shame, merely for a very early flight back home to his family), so John and I were off on our own today. Errands…followed by an utterly romantic window-table brunch at La La Lucia’s! Popovers and roasted potatoes and a fried egg sandwich – open faced, with bacon, tomato (real, ripe tomato, in May, how does she do it?),arugula, aioli, and but of course – a fried egg. Any take on the Spanglish sandwich is just…scrumptious with me.

Tomorrow, stay tuned, dinner for the fam and if I do say so myself, I’m on a bit of a roll lately and I have big plans. BIG plans. Well, not caviar or lobster big, but beef tenderloin big, and that’s something. You know I’m done with neither favas nor morels (although John wishes I were, I can tell; he kindly feigns enthusiasm which I do appreciate).

Welcome Not Winter!

Moderate it: OK, there are healthier ways to eat fish than with buttery potatoes and creme fraiche (I considered this a special occasion). To lighten the dish without stripping it bare, serve the potatoes without butter, grill the fish (instead of sauteeing it), and let the creme fraiche (you only need a small dollop) pull it all together. Still delicious!

Print Friendly and PDF

Older Comments

  1. By Stephanie on May 13, 2008 at 9:30AM

    Halibut with Fingerlings, Fava Beans, Meyer Lemon, and Savory Crème Fraiche
    Adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin
    Serves 6

    From the cookbook:
    This isn’t a difficult dish to make, but it does require some last-minute multi-tasking. Have your prepared ingredients – or, as we say in the kitchen, your mise en place – ready to go. Be sure that your herbs are chopped, the vinaigrette is made, the crème fraiche is mixed, and your seasonings are in reach. This dish is a great way to initiate the unconverted to the Church of the Fava Bean. The potatoes and favas are mashed together with butter and finished with pea shoots and a vibrant Meyer lemon salsa. The seared halibut goes on top with a dollop of savory crème fraiche.

    Note: you can make the Meyer lemon salsa and the savory crème fraiche earlier in the day. You could also boil and smash the potatoes ahead of time.

    6 fillets halibut, 5-6 oz. each (Stephanie’s note: I find it easier to cook a thinner fillet, so I always halve halibut fillets lengthwise; your preference)
    1 Meyer lemon, zested
    1 Tbsp. thyme leaves
    2 Tbsp. sliced flat-leaf parsley
    1 1/4 lbs. small fingerling potatoes (small new potatoes work well too)
    1 Tbsp. butter
    1 1/2 c. shucked and shelled fava beans, from 2 lbs. in the pod (to remove waxy skin from each bean, blanch for 30 seconds in boiling water, plunge into cold water, squeeze from skins)
    2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
    4 oz. pea shoots (I couldn’t find these; I used more chopped parsley as a garnish)
    Savory Crème Fraiche (see below)
    Meyer Lemon Salsa (see below)
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Season the halibut with the lemon zest, thyme, and parsley. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

    Remove fish from the refrigerator 15 minutes before cooking to bring it to room temperature.

    Place the potatoes in a medium pot, cover with cold water (by at least 4 inches), and add 1 Tbsp. salt. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer gently for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender when pierced. Reserve a cup of the water and strain the potatoes. When the potatoes have cooled, slightly smash them with the heel of your hand.

    Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the butter, smashed potatoes, and 3/4 tsp. salt. Stir to coat the pieces with butter. Add the fava beans and a few Tbsp. of the reserved potato water to the pan. Turn off the heat and cover while you cook the fish.

    Heat a large sauté pan over high heat for 2 minutes. (You may need to cook the fish in batches or use two pans.) Swirl in the olive oil and wait 1 minute. Carefully lay the fish in the pan and cook 3-4 minutes, until it’s lightly browned. Turn the fish over, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook a few more minutes until it’s almost cooked through. Be careful not to overcook the fish. When it’s done, it will begin to flake and separate a little and the center will still be slightly translucent – remember the halibut will continue to cook a bit more once you take it out of the pan.

    Turn the heat under the potatoes up to medium, uncover, and heat the potatoes and favas until hot through. Toss in the pea shoots and cook about 1 minute, stirring to combine until the pea shoots are just wilted. Taste for seasoning. Spoon the potatoes onto a large warm platter, dot half the crème fraiche over them, and spoon half the lemon salsa on top. Arrange the halibut over the potatoes and spoon the remaining crème fraiche and lemon salsa over each piece of fish.

    Savory Crème Fraiche
    2 tsp. savory leaves (I couldn’t find these; used sorrel leaves instead, delicious)
    3/4 c. crème fraiche
    kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Using a mortar and pestle, pound the savory leaves to a paste. Add the crème fraiche and use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and combine well. Season with 1/4 tsp. salt and a pinch of black pepper.

    Meyer Lemon Salsa
    2-3 large Meyer lemons
    2 Tbsp. finely diced shallots
    1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil
    1 tsp. minced savory (or sorrel)
    2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
    kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Cut both ends off the Meyer lemons. Place the lemons cut side down on a cutting board. Following the contour of the fruit with your knife, remove the peel and white cottony pith, working from the top to bottom and rotating the fruit as you go. Then, one at a time, transfer lemons to a plate, cut side down, and carefully slice between the membranes and the fruit to release the segments in between. (Stephanie’s note: the segments are very small, I definitely ended up with bits and pieces more than perfect segments – tasted fantastic and loved lovely anyhow.) Discard the seeds and membranes, but reserve the juice.

    Place the lemon juice in a small bowl and add the shallots and 1/4 tsp. salt. Let sit 5 minutes and slowly whisk in the olive oil. Stir in the lemon segments, savory, and parsley. Taste for balance and seasoning.