Pan Seared & Roasted Halibut, Summer Garden Succotash and Yellow Lemon Rice

As a kid, I disliked fish.   My mother, in her true German way, loved to cook whole trout and serve it to us this way.  When you're young, if it doesn't look like fish sticks and isn't served with tater tots-- well, a fish with cooked eyeballs looking up at me is about as disgusting as you can get.  I refused to eat it. Period.

I avoided fish at all costs, until my early thirties.  That's when I discovered Petrale Sole.  It was a whole new world!  I have also learned to appreciate fresh salmon and fresh tilapia.  I've also discovered that fresh trout, sans eyeballs, is a very tasty fish.  My favorite way to prepare fish is to sear and roast it (grilling it comes in second).  I love the flavorful crust that develops on high heat on a stove, and then is roasted perfectly to present moist and tender fish.   Ever since I watched "Food Inc." I have decided to spend a few extra dollars to buy fresh and non-farmed fish.  I decided to splurge and buy fresh Pacific (Alaskan) halibut, at my local fish market, which is considered to be the best sustainable choice-- @$17.00 a pound. Ouch.  "How long ago was this halbut swimming off Alaskan waters?", I asked.
"Two days ago", he replied.
"I sure hope so", I thought to myself.

When I arrived home, I opened the packaged and sniffed the fish.  Nothing.  This is good!  Fresh fish shouldn't  stink "smell" like fish.  To keep things simple, I reached for my can of "Old Bay Seasoning" and preheated the oven to 400F.  I grabbed my favorite cast iron skillet, added a little olive oil and heated the pan until the oil just began to ripple and smoke...

I left the fish to sear for about 3 minutes, without moving it around.  By lifting a corner, I could see that I was achieving that beautiful brown sear.  I flipped the halibut and put the entire pan into the oven.  I started the side dish while the halibut was searing...

I originally wanted to make a zucchini gratin. However, our squash isn't quite ready. We're having an unually cool summer with less sunshine that usual.  Our tomatoes are behind schedule, but they are showing promise.  I picked the few cherry, Sweet 100's and pear tomatoes that I could find.  I found one zucchini squash that was ready to cook.

So I pondered what to do with these....

I spotted two ears of corn a friend had given me from her CSA box.  In the bowl  have fresh corn, zucchini and tomatoes.
I decided to slice a vidalia onion I had, on hand.  I drizzled the vegetables with olive oil, kosher salt & fresh cracked pepper....

...and I set the whole pan into the oven, next to the roasting halibut.  You could cook the succotash entirely on the stove top, if you prefer.

 It took about 5-6 more minutes for the fish to reach an internal temperature of 145F.

On a whim, I added a bit of dried thyme (fresh would have been great) and then a little bit of freshly grated romano cheese.  Traditional succotash, I know, is made with corn and beans...and even some heavy cream.  This version is much healthier and took about 10 minutes for the cherries to pop.  They were ready.

 For "Yellow Rice", I rinsed white rice, added about 1/4 tsp of tumeric, used half chicken broth and half water. When the rice was ready,

...I added some lemon zest and squeezed lemon juice and gently blended. You can add fresh herbs and even peas.  It's inexpensive to make, and the color is really pretty. This dinner was ready in less than 45 minutes.

I served a chilled bottle of white wine, and the two of us had a quiet and romantic dinner at home.

VERDICT:  Halibut is currently my favorite fish.  This fish is very mild, and was moist and perfectly cooked.  The succotash was so delicious, if I do say so myself.  There is something to be said when you can enjoy vegetables that were freshly picked from your own backyard!  We grow most of our vegetables in containers, and I encourage anyone to try this.  As for the fish-- it was well worth the price I paid.  It feels good to support my local fish monger, and I truly could taste the difference from farm-raised not-so-fresh fish.  My childhood aversion to fish is gone.

This dinner would have cost, easily, $50.00 in a restaurant.  Of course, the dishes don't wash themselves.  Fortunately, my husband is great about helping with that.

That's what I call a Date Night!  I cook. He cleans.  Then, we cuddle and watch a movie at home.

No recipe card for the fish is needed, don't you think This is all technique, and not being afraid to use herbs and seasonings. The side dish recipe cards are below.

Happy Summer!

                                Yellow Lemon Rice        <p>Saffron rice is dubbed the most expensive spice in the world. Sometimes, I like to make a simple ?Yellow? Rice by using a tiny pinch of Tumeric? this gives rice a pretty yellow color, but doesn?t add any flavor to the rice. It?s a versatile way to ...             See Yellow Lemon Rice on Key Ingredient.    

                                Summer Garden Succotash        <p>Traditional succotash is made with corn and lima beans. Some versions add heavy cream, which is delicious and loaded with calories.  I had some fresh corn, cherry tomatoes and zucchini and I created this side dish to be served with fresh fish. It was ...             See Summer Garden Succotash on Key Ingredient.    

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