|Panko Crusted Halibut with Colcannon|
and Roasted Tomatoes
As with all classic dishes there are as many different colcannon recipes as there are Irish households that make it. There are even many ways of spelling it like colcanon and kohl cannon. In my quirky head I feel obliged to call it "kale-connon" since this version is made with kale. Must be the Rachel Ray goddess in me! This particular recipe for this potato dish is adapted from our very own Matt Armendariz of Matt Bites noted on the Cooking Channel website. It is perfect as an everyday side dish, peasant lunch or breakfast with eggs or butter beans, to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with festive green and white...or the first day of Spring!! FYI: Traditionally colcannon made with kale was served at Hallowe'en.
The Spring feast begins with a short prayer, or toast:
Blessed be the earth, and all who dwell upon it.
We give thanks for the season now departing from us,
For the blessings it has bestowed upon us,
And upon those with whom we share this world.
Blessed be the new season.
We pray that it will be a time filled with peace,
With abundance, with prosperity,
Blessed be all who share this feast.
Let us now prepare for the time ahead
By opening our hearts, and our minds, and our spirits.
From Shepherd's Pie with Ulster Champ, to Colcannon Soup with Irish Soda Bread we have been celebrating being Irish all week as well as the rebirth of Spring. We are not really Irish of course but it is fun to adopt a nation for more than just one day. Irish-Canadians are the fourth largest group in Canada with a population of four and half million or fourteen percent of the total population. The earliest recorded Irish presence in Canada was in 1537 when a group of fishermen from Cork sailed to the island of Newfoundland. I wonder what their impressions of "the rock" were, whether they arrived in winter, or were amazed by the Grand Banks teaming with cod? Irish immigration peaked of course during and after the Great Irish Famine, a great number settling in these Maritime provinces.
As mentioned previously for today's celebration I chose to prepare a halibut dish with a side of traditional Colcannon made with kale and some roasted tomatoes on the side. Next to salmon I would have to say that halibut is my favourite fish with its sparkling white meat. It is a lean, mild tasting fish whose firm flesh holds together well when cooked. It was perfect baked in the oven topped with a light Panko crust. For those of you watching your calories this method is a favourite of mine. I sometimes add a little lemon zest, shake up the herb factor or use mayonnaise, yogurt or different flavoured mustards as the coating layer.
You've heard of tuna referred to as "Chicken of the Sea" well how's about "Hippo of the Sea” which comes from the halibut’s Latin family name Hippoglossus. “Holy flatfish” is the English derivation, with hali for holy and but for flat, hailing from the halibut’s legacy as a special fish served on holy days (or holidays) in medieval Ireland. If the first day of Spring is not a Holy day then what is!!!
This meal came together very quickly, and could even be considered a 30 minute cookbook meal, but it is restaurant ready!! The only downfall is the amount of washing up afterwards!This recipes serves 4 so your friends and family can help you with the dishes! Sláinte!
**Panko Crusted Halibut with Colcannon and Roasted Tomatoes**
Olive oil (for the dish) or cooking spray
4 pieces (5 ounces each) skinless halibut fillet (each about 3/4-inch thick)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup plain yogurt, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard or grainy mustard
4 russet potatoes, cleaned, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 garlic cloves minced
2 leeks, cleaned and whites thinly sliced
2 bunches kale, stems removed and chopped
2/3 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste
15 cherry tomatoes
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 teaspoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 450F.
Toss the cherry tomatoes with the olive oil, thyme sprigs and pepper. Distribute tomatoes on a foiled oven tray and cook in the oven for approximately15 minutes until the tomatoes are beginning to collapse. At the dsame time start the colcannon.(see below).
Halfway through cooking the tomatoes lightly oil a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Pat the halibut dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the bread crumbs, parsley, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Set the fish in the baking dish and brush the top liberally with yogurt, mayonnaise, or either mustards. I tend use grainy mustard which adds a lot of subtle flavours. Sprinkle the top of the halibut with the crumb mixture.
Bake the fish for 10 minutes. With a low oil content, halibut will dry out easily if overcooked therefore cook it for 10 minutes per 2.5 cm (1 inch) of thickness or until the flesh loses its glossy appearance and flakes easily when pressed with a fork.
Meanwhile prepare the colcannon. Place the potato chunks in a large pot and fill with water to cover. Bring the potatoes to a boil on medium-high heat and continue to boil until the potatoes are fork tender, 20-25 minutes. Cut the potatoes smaller for a faster cooking time.
Place 6 tablespoons of butter, cream and garlic in a small saucepan and bring up to a simmer on medium-low heat. Cover to keep hot.
In a large saute pan melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter on medium heat and saute the leeks for about 1 minute. Add the kale to the leeks and continue to saute for an additional 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the water over the kale and leek mixture, stir and cover. Allow the mixture to cook until the kale has wilted and the liquid has cooked off, about 7 minutes.
Once the potatoes are fork tender, drain them and place them back into the pot. Begin mashing the potatoes, while adding the cream mixture a little at a time, until the potatoes are smooth and creamy. I like to whip my potatoes with a hand mixer. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the leeks and wilted kale into the potatoes, adjust the seasonings.
Serve the crusted halibut perched on top of the colcannon and top with roasted tomatoes.
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