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Seared Alaska Halibut Fillets in Escabeche
Courtesy of Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute
Servings: 6
Prep Time: 15 Min.
Cook Time: 30 Min.
What you need:
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1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
6 (5-6 oz. each) boneless, skinless Alaska halibut fillets, about 3/4 in. thick
2 medium white onions, sliced 1/4 in. thick
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 in. cubes
6 garlic cloves, peeled and quartered
3 bay leaves
6 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
6 sprigs fresh marjoram, leaves roughly chopped or 1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
3 whole cloves
1/4 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
2 in. piece of cinnamon stick, preferably Mexican canela
1/4 c. cider vinegar
1 c. water or light fish broth or light chicken broth
salt, as needed
3-4 large fresh or pickled jalapeno chilies, stemmed, seeded and cut lengthwise into thin strips
What to do:
1. Browning the halibut - in a large (12-in.) heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high. Pat the halibut fillets dry with paper towels, then lay them in a single, uncrowded layer in the hot oil (you may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your pan and fillets). Brown richly on one side, 3 to 4 min., then flip the fillets over and brown the other side, letting the halibut cook until it flakes under firm pressure, 2 or 3 min. more. Remove the fillets to a plate and set aside.
2. For the escabeche - reduce the heat under the pan to medium and add the onions, carrots and garlic. Stir regularly until the onions are translucent and the carrots almost soft, about 5 min. Add the bay leaves, thyme, marjoram, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon, vinegar and water or broth. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 15 min. to bring the flavors together. Taste and season with salt, usually about 3/4 tsp., then stir in the jalapeƱo strips.
3. To serve - If you want to serve the dish warm, simply lay the fillets over the simmering escabeche, cover and gently heat for 4 or 5 min. It's easiest to serve the warm dish by placing a piece of halibut on each of 6 dinner plates, then spooning a portion of the brothy escabeche over each one, arranging the branches of herbs decoratively on top. To serve the dish cool, place a piece of halibut on each of 6 dinner plates and spoon the escabeche over it all. As it cools, the fish and vegetables will absorb much of the liquid.
4. For advance preparation - When serving the dish warm, you can brown the halibut and simmer the escabeche several hours in advance. Rewarm the halibut and escabeche just before serving. When serving the dish cool, its best served the day it's made, but it will keep a day or two in the refrigerator; the dish is best when allowed to come to room temperature before serving.

Recipe By Chef Rick Bayless
Wine pairings:
Chardonnay / Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, White Table Wine
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