Food for friends: Halibut and pears in port

Posted on: 22nd Apr 2017 by: Aldo Zilli

HALIBUT WITH SHOESTRING POTATOES

750g waxy potatoes, such as Belle de Fontenay 

An electric deep-fryer 

Sunflower oil, for deep-frying

1 egg white

1 tbsp milk

750g halibut fillet, cut into 8 pieces

3 sprigs of fresh chervil

3 sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus extra leaves to garnish

100g plain flour

1 tsp black sesame seeds

½ tsp chilli powder

Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

 

SERVES: 4

PREPARATION: 20 MINUTES

COOKING TIME: 5-10 MINUTES

Using a mandolin, cut the potatoes as thinly as possible into strips, then put into a bowl of cold water to rinse off the starch. Drain and dry well with paper towels.

Fill a deep-fryer with the oil to the manufacturer’s recommended level and heat to 176°C/350°F. Working in batches, fry the potatoes until golden, then drain on paper towels. Keep hot.

Put the egg white and milk in a bowl then mix. Rub the fish with the egg white mixture. Finely chop the herbs. Sift the flour into a bowl then add the herbs, sesame seeds, chilli powder and seasoning. 

Deep-fry the parsley leaves. Be careful, as they spit furiously, but will be crisp as soon as the spitting stops. Remove and drain on paper towels. Dip the fish into the bowl of flour mixture to coat and fry two pieces at a time for 2-3 minutes until just cooked. Drain on paper towels and serve with the fried leaves and crisp shoestring potatoes. 

pear

PEARS IN PORT WITH JUNIPER AND GINGER

8 Conference pears, peeled and cored but left whole

375ml red wine, such as merlot

750ml ruby port

1 tbsp juniper berries, about 20 berries, crushed

Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon, cut in a long strip

3 tbsp caster sugar 

3 pieces preserved stem ginger, finely diced, plus

2 tbsp of the syrup

2 tsp arrowroot, blended with 2 tbsp port to serve

1 cup double cream, whipped to soft peaks

1 tbsp syrup from the jar of preserved ginger

Finely grated peel of ½ unwaxed lemon

SERVES: 8  PREPARATION: 20 MINUTES

COOKING TIME: 45 MINUTES – 1 HOUR

Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas Mark 2. 

Stand the pears upright in a deep, ovenproof dish. Put the wine, port, juniper berries, lemon peel and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Pour the mixture over the pears to cover. Stir in the stem ginger and syrup. Cover and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until the pears are very tender. Baste them 2-3 times during cooking.

Remove from the oven and, using a slotted spoon, transfer the pears to a deep bowl. Pour the cooking liquid into a saucepan and stir in the arrowroot until mixed. Bring to a boil, stirring until the syrup is smooth and slightly thickened. Remove and discard the lemon peel, then pour the syrup over the pears. Serve immediately or refrigerate overnight: the flavour and colour will intensify.

To serve, mix the whipped cream, ginger syrup and lemon peel until blended. Serve alongside the pears and drizzle over the wine syrup.