Potato-Crusted Halibut

I love it when I watch a chef prepare something that’s out of my comfort zone.  Such was the case when Anne Burrell prepared Potato-Crusted Halibut.  With halibut now in season, I’m continuously looking for new ways to prepare this wonderful, light, flaky & healthy white fish.  It’s great grilled, pan sautéed or roasted and lends itself nicely to just about any kind of topping.  This particular preparation, even though a little time-consuming, is great for a small dinner party.  It really possesses that “WOW” factor!  The fish is wrapped in potato slices to resemble fish scales, then sautéed in an infused olive oil, creating a nice crispy potato crust on the outside and leaving a beautifully moist and flaky piece of fish inside.   A mandoline is a necessity for this dish, and while they come in all sizes and price ranges, they are invaluable in producing the really thin slices of potatoes needed for success.  The slices need to be paper-thin…so thin that you can see through them, otherwise they won’t “bend” like they need to in order to successfully wrap around the fish.   Once you brush these with the infused olive oil, you’ll lay the halibut on top and “wrap” it up using the parchment paper to facilitate the wrapping, then peeling it back leaving the slices on the fish.  Here’s a picture of the slices laid out on parchment paper.

Here’s what the little “package” will look like ready to go into the skillet.

Halibut "wrapped" in potato "scales"

And here’s the final presentation!  I served this over a bed of sautéed spring onions, fennel & swiss chard.

Potato Crusted Halibut served over Spring Onions, Fennel & Swiss Chard

Potato-Crusted Halibut

Chef Anne Burrell

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 thyme bundle
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 lemon, zest removed from the lemon with a vegetable peeler in wide strips
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 3 Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed
  • 4 (6-ounce) Pacific halibut fillets
  • Kosher salt

Directions

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the olive oil, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, lemon zest, crushed red pepper flakes and fennel seeds. Bring to a boil then turn the heat off and let it sit for at least 1 hour. (*Big tip: This can be done ahead and used for LOTS of different things.)

Cook’s Note: In this case it is important to work quickly and to slice the potatoes for 1 halibut fillet at a time. We are NOT going to soak the potatoes in water, this will help them maintain their starch so they will stick to each other and to the fish, but could cause them to turn brown.

Using a mandoline, slice 1 potato extremely thin, (paper thin), in elongated rounds. Lay a piece of parchment paper on a clean, dry work surface. Arrange 3 potato slices in an overlapping vertical line pressing them together as you put them on the parchment. Repeat this process until you have a 4 by 6-inch overlapping potato rectangle that replicates fish scales. Brush the potato “scales” with the infused oil and sprinkle with salt. Season the halibut with salt. Lay the halibut fillet closer to 1 end of the potato rectangle than the other and then roll the fish up in the potato slices, using the parchment to help facilitate the rolling. Press to compact and really adhere the potatoes to the fish. Brush the outside of the potatoes with the infused oil to seal the potatoes and to prevent the potatoes from turning brown, this will also help make a nice tight “fish package”. Reserve the fish in the refrigerator while preparing the remaining fillets. Refrigerate the fillets for at least 1 hour before cooking.

To cook the fish:

Add the infused olive oil to a large nonstick saute pan until the bottom is generously covered and bring the pan to a medium-high heat. Season the fish with salt and add to the pan. Cook the fish on both sides for 3 to 4 minutes frequently spooning the excess oil over the fish to “baste” it. The potatoes should be crispy golden brown and very well-flavored and the fish will be succulent inside its crispy “scales”. Transfer to serving plates and serve.

This will make a fish lover out of anyone!

Liz’s Notes:

1. I cut my fish a little bigger than Anne did , so I made my potato rectangle a little bigger, ensuring it would cover the whole piece of fish.

2. If you happen to have some purchased herb or lemon infused olive oil that you like, you can skip the whole first step of making your own.

3. I did NOT use all the olive oil to cook the fish.  1 1/2 Cups is a lot of oil to use for cooking fish!  Use just enough oil to make sure your potatoes get nice and crisp.  Save the rest for another use.

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5 Responses

  1. I tried this recipe last night and it was like a fine dining experience. The trick is to get the potatoes super thin. The mandolin has to use the blade that says thin slices. I made the mistake of using the medium slice balde the first time round and my potatoes just wouldn’t bend. The side of braised fennel, swiss chard and green onions is also amazing. I love Chef Burnell!

  2. I saw Anne cook this too and was intrigued. Going to give it a go tonight. Thank you for your notes on the dish.

  3. Love the finished product! I’ll have to put this on next weeks menu. 🙂

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