Sunday, June 3, 2012

Crab and Spinach over Halibut with Prosecco Saffron Butter Sauce

The spouse and I attended our first of Viking Cooking classes. We will definitely repeat this experience! One of the recipes that we made was suppose to be a stuffed flounder, however, flounder was not in season. Halibut was in season, however, and, the truth is, we enjoy halibut more than flounder anyway! So, here is what the dish looks like. (the side is another recipe we made that night - pasta with clam sauce or Linguine con le Vongole.)

2 tablespoons golden raisins
¼ cup very hot water
4 good size (6 to 8 ounce) fresh halibut, skinned
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup fresh spinach leaves, stems trimmed and discarded, blanched
4 ounces fresh lump jumbo crabmeat
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted, cooled and coarsely chopped
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ teaspoon saffron threads
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons finely minced red onion
1 cup Prosecco (or other sparkling wine)
2 sticks unsalted butter (16 tablespoons), chilled, cut into 1 inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1.    Preheat oven to 350 F.
2.   To blanch spinach leaves, place in a strainer, plunge into rapidly boiling water, then immediately immerse in a bowl of ice water. Drain the spinach, pat dry with paper towels. Do this immediately! Do not want the spinach to become soggy.
3.  To toast the pine nuts, spread the nuts in a single layer in a dry sauté pan and place over medium heat. Stir frequently until them begin to color, remove from heat and then immediately remove the nuts from the hot pan to stop the browning process.
4.  Place the raisins in the ¼ cup of very hot water until they are plump and rehydrated, about 15 minutes. Then drain and set aside.
5.  Be sure to pat dry the fish. Then, season both sides with salt and pepper.
6.  Pound the saffron with a mortar and pestle. 
7. Heat a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, Prosecco, saffron and sugar. Do not stir! Cook it down until it has reduced down to a syrupy consistency, about 2 to 3 teaspoons should be left. While this cooking down, continue with the rest. (Want to try and time all of this to come together at one time!)
8.  Gently fold the crabmeat with parsley, pine nuts and rehydrated raisins, being careful not to break the crab apart. Season with salt and pepper.
9.  Pre-heat a large sauté pan (large enough to hold all the fish!) over medium-high heat. Add the oil and be sure it is hot enough and ready for the fish!
10.   Place the fish in the large sauté pan so they are not touching each other, skin side up!
11. Watch the fish – want the edges to start to brown indicating that there is a thin ‘crust’ on the bottom (which will become the top!). This may take 4 to 5 minutes.
12. Flip the fish. Turn off the heat. Immediately, spread the spinach onto the fish and top with the crabmeat mixture.
13. Place the fish in the frying pan into the oven (middle shelf). Leave it alone for 5 minutes.
14.Take fish out of oven. Fish should be at 130 F in the center. (It will continue to cook itself to 135 F while the sauce is prepared.)
15. By now, hopefully, the sauce has reduced to a syrupy consistency. Turn off the heat. Add the butter, piece by piece, swirling with a spatula to melt each one. The butter should not separate. It should be a nice, creamy consistency.
16.Spread a wee bit of the sauce on the plate, gently place the fish on the sauce and then cover with a wee bit more sauce.
17.  Enjoy with a nice, un-oaked Chardonnay. 

The instructor really liked our butter sauce! When it cooled, it acted just like it was suppose to:

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