Cornmeal Encrusted Halibut with a Cilantro Pesto over a Corn Puree

My husband and I had a similiar entrée out at a restaurant here in Houston called Reef.  We both loved it so much that I had to try to make my own version of it!  Even though this seems like a lot of ingredients, it comes together quickly to create a fantastic date night meal. I am choosing to use a grape seed or coconut oil to create a lighter feel to this dish, however regular olive oil will work. Ingredient amounts serve two.

Ingredients

Cilantro Pesto (optional)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup toasted and salted pepitas
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 cup cilantro, mainly leaves, remove large stems
2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
1/2 of a garlic clove crushed or 1/2 of a cube of Dorot brand garlic
Juice of half of a lime, about 2 tablespoons
Corn Puree
3 cobs of corn kernels removed
1/2 cup of a yellow onion diced
2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of sugar
1  1/2 cups of chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 tablespoon of butter
2 tablespoons of corn starch
1/4 cup of water
Halibut
2 – 4 – 6 oz. halibut filets, skin removed
1/4 cup of cornmeal
2 tablespoons of coconut oil, grape seed oil or regular olive oil
Garnish
Heirloom cherry tomatoes cut in half, if not available grape or cherry tomatoes cut in half (optional)
2 pieces of precooked bacon strips
2 cilantro leaves (optional)

Technique

Combine all pesto ingredients into a magic bullet or food processor until well combined. Set aside.

Heat butter in medium sized skillet over medium high heat. Add diced onions and sauté until they start to brown around the edges.  Add sugar and continue to sauté. Once caramelized, add corn, chicken broth and salt. Cook until corn is soft.  You may need to add more chicken broth if mixture gets dry.  Remove from heat and in batches puree in a blender until smooth.  Pour contents through a strainer and transfer back to skillet.  Over medium high heat whisk in butter, taste and adjust seasoning if needed.  Make a thickening agent by whisking water and corn starch.  Bring puree to a boil and gradually whisk in thickening agent to desired consistency – it should be almost as thick as a pudding.  Remove from heat and cover to keep warm. 

Place corn meal into a shallow dish. Rinse halibut filets. Pat halibut with cornmeal on both sides until evenly coated, but only light dusted. The water from rinsing the halibut should allow the cornmeal to stick to the fish. In a large skillet heat oil of choice over medium high heat and add filets. Cover and sear for several minutes until underside is browned. Flip, cover and continue cooking until halibut filet begins to flake slightly. Total cooking time should be around 8 minutes. Place 2 pieces of precooked bacon strips on a paper towel and cook in a microwave on high for 25-30 seconds until crisp, remove, blot any grease, crumble and set aside. To plate, place puree onto plate along with several dollops of pesto (if using) top with the filet and garnish with tomatoes, bacon and cilantro leaves.

Suggested Beverage

Try Rombauer Vineyards Carneros Chardonnay (California), J. Lohr Arroyo Seco Riverstone Chardonnay (California), Hahn Estates Chardonnay (California), Flensburger Brauerei Gold Premium Lager (Germany )or Samuel Adams® Summer Ale (Boston, MA).

One response to “Cornmeal Encrusted Halibut with a Cilantro Pesto over a Corn Puree”

  1. Eftychia says:

    Delicious recipe. Thanks for sharing!

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