Orange and Parsley Marinated Halibut with Fresh Corn Salsa

A blue plate with a halibut steak and fresh fruit salsa.

I have been craving fish for weeks now. My mind has been preoccupied with thoughts of thick tuna, seared quickly and then served with sesame. I’ve been thinking cold poached salmon with capers and crisp butter lettuce. And I could never forget halibut, particularly the stark white creaminess of a baked halibut steak. I succumbed on the walk home from work tonight, there’s no ignoring a craving when one nestles into my brain. I bought a walloping halibut steak that could have realistically fed two people if I hadn’t been caught up in the fervour of halibut madness. Because halibut has such a delicate flavour the fish only needs to marinate for 30 minutes, and to be honest 15 minutes would get the job done in a pinch. This fresh corn salsa is a great way to use up leftover roasted corn; in fact you could easily roast a few extra ears the next time you make it for dinner and eliminate the first step in making the salsa. The fruits and vegetables seem to integrate best when cut very finely, I suggest a good podcast or phone conversation with a friend while doing this part (and chopping in total silence isn’t a half bad way to go about it, either). I served this massive halibut steak with a chopped green salad and briny Kalamata olives drizzled in a passionfruit dressing.

orange and herb marinated halibut with fresh corn salsa:

for the halibut:

1-2 halibut steaks, depending on how many people are eating

1/4 cup olive oil

Juice and zest from 1 orange

Minced parsley

Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

Pinch of dried chilies

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the olive oil, orange juice and zest, parsley, salt, pepper, and chilies in a shallow baking dish big enough to house the halibut without crowding. Marinate the halibut, turning once, for 30 minutes.

2. Bake the halibut steaks for 12-16 minutes depending on thickness, it should flake easily with a fork when it’s ready. Serve topped with a generous amount of fresh corn salsa.

for the fresh corn salsa:

2 ears of corn, roasted at 350 degrees for 35 minutes in their husks and cooled before peeling

1/4 red onion, finely diced

1 ripe nectarine or peach, finely diced

2 small cucumbers, finely diced

1 cup of grape tomatoes, finely diced

1 sweet pepper, finely diced

1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced

1 yellow banana pepper, finely diced

1 Tbsp. fruity olive oil

2 Tbsp. lime juice

1 tsp. cumin

Small handful of cilantro or Italian parsley, minced

Kosher salt to taste

Combine all ingredients and allow to sit for 15 minutes at room temperature before serving.

I have the strangest affinity to this album considering both of my parents listened to it with heavy frequency in the aftermath of their divorce. It serves as a landmark for that period of my young life, serving to gather my time scattered memories and ground them with something certain. I listen to this album and I remember Saturday afternoons with my mom and sister. We would go to the children’s library and I would come home with  a pile of John Bellairs books and Tintin comics. My sister and I would spend the afternoon reading in the backyard hammock, the sounds of “You and Me” drifting out of our kitchen window. Maybe that’s where the fondness comes from, its relation to the kitchen. Certainly now, as an adult, I feel great comfort listening to this song and all of the others on the record; it brings a sense of warmth and kindness to a period that was fraught with anger, hurt, and sadness.

Neil Young – You and Me

Garlic Chili Orange Salmon with Herbed Citrus Rice

Sriracha Orange Salmon

Because I spend my days working with beautiful food and talking non-stop about beautiful food with people who are all passionate about cooking in both their professional and personal lives (it’s a challenge, indeed) I sometimes find myself at home at the end of the day in need of sustenance but strongly averse to the idea of remaining in the kitchen any longer than necessary. During such times I am presented with two options, the first being takeout and the second being a recipe that is kitchen efficient. I almost always opt for latter because at this point I’m usually in my nightgown and slippers and there’s absolutely no way I’m going to change into something publicly presentable when I can make something tastier in the same time it would take to go out for food. I am an enduring fan of this salmon and rice combination, for sheer speed as well as ease of preparation. The salmon can begin marinating in the morning but will also be equally delicious if made right before baking and there is no real chopping besides the orange slices and fresh herbs (which you could cut with scissors if so inclined.) If you have a rice cooker this meal becomes even simpler but can certainly be made on the stove without any issue. The citrus used too, is flexible and you can substitute any type you happen to have on hand. Eat this sunset hued salmon and brightly flavoured rice in your pyjamas with the book of your choice and a glass of ice cold lemonade or something white and chilled.

garlic chili orange salmon:

1/3 cup of fresh orange juice

1 Tbsp. garlic chili paste

1 Tbsp. olive oil

About 1 Tbsp. of orange zest

2 salmon fillets

A couple of thin orange slices for garnish

1. In a small bowl whisk together the orange juice, garlic chili paste, olive oil, and orange zest. Pour over the salmon fillets in a glass baking dish. Refrigerate and marinate the salmon for up to 12 hours in the fridge or bake right away.

2. Either bake the salmon at a lower temperature for a longer time (275 degrees for 25-30 minutes) or bake at a higher temperature for a shorter amount of time (400 degrees for 10-15 minutes.) In all honestly I find that the lower temperature gives the salmon a more buttery texture but I sometimes err on the side of speed and the results are still very satisfying. the salmon is done when light pink and flaky in texture.

herbed citrus rice:

1 cup of basmati rice (both white and brown basmati rice works well)

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter (or, use salted and adjust salt addition accordingly)

1 cup of chopped fresh herbs, I like to use dill, parsley, cilantro, and basil

1/2 cup of orange juice (fresh or from concentrate)

About 1 Tbsp. of citrus zest, I use orange and lime zest most often

Salt to taste

1. While the salmon is baking cook the rice in either a rice cooker or on the stovetop in 1 1/2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of orange juice.) Once cooked turn off the heat and stir in the butter, herbs, zest, and salt. Serve hot alongside the salmon and enjoy your well-earned victory over takeout.

When I first heard this song Dan Snaith was using the moniker Manitoba but is now using the name Caribou (and Daphne.) Ian first put this song on a mix CD he made for me almost 10 years ago and I remember how struck I was by this song and how light and exhilarated it sounded, like real joy set to music. Until this point I’d never seen the video and it visually is somehow exactly as it should be; weirdness and light colliding to form 3 minutes of happiness.

Caribou/Manitoba – Jacknuggeted



Roasted Trout with Lemon and Dill

Whenever I eat fish I feel as though I’m somehow instantly becoming a healthier and better person by proxy, it’s ridiculous how smug I feel when I’m eating it. I’m assuming this is largely because I had to teach myself  to like fish, in no way was I born with an innate taste for inhabitants of the sea. I live with someone who really won’t eat fish so I limit these sessions of weird superiority to evenings when I’m alone in the apartment.  This trout is simple to assemble quickly when you’re hungry and craving feelings of robust healthiness. The pale coral flesh becomes buttery soft once roasted in a scorching oven for a very brief amount of time. I tend to use fresh baby dill because I buy it regularly, other herbs that would be delicious are basil, cilantro, parsley and oregano; let’s just say that this recipe is very much open to interpretation. The fruity sourness of the lemon and the heat of the crushed black pepper once again prove to be an effective marriage of flavours and the Dijon mustard binds the two together with unwavering certainty. Because trout has a somewhat assertive taste I like to eat it with an equally assertive green and some garlic tossed together in a pan of olive oil for maximum psychological health benefits.

roasted trout with lemon and dill:

1 trout fillet

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

One good handful of fresh dill, finely snipped with scissors

2 tsp. dijon mustard

Kosher salt to taste

A generous amount of black pepper, I like to crack  black peppercorns with a mortar and pestle for this recipe

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a small bowl or measuring cup combine 1 Tbsp. of the vegetable oil, lemon zest and juice, fresh dill and mustard and stir until blended.

3. Using the remaining 1 Tbsp. of vegetable oil to lightly grease a shallow glass casserole dish, place the trout skin side down and pour the lemon and dill mixture over the fish to coat. Apply the salt and freshly cracked pepper according to taste, I think lots of pepper provides a bite that pairs wonderfully with the acidic tartness of the lemon.

4. Roast the fish in the oven until the flesh turns to a soft coral shade and flakes easily with a fork; the fillets I use take around 11 minutes to cook. (I direct you to this handy chart for information on cooking fish for the appropriate time.) Eat while extremely hot and feel richly nourished.

You know how sometimes you need a song to make you happy? Something that will lift you up and knock the dust off after a stupid day; my stupid days usually mean my ability  to pass as an extrovert while actually desperately needing to be quiet and to not speak to anyone for at least 24 hours.  New Order is, most of the time, the happiest depressing band ever so I find this song fitting for moods such as the aforementioned. It’s pop melody hyperbole, sunshine in 7:00 minutes and it will make you feel better and warmer.

New Order – Temptation