On my 30th birthday Jeff gathered up my side and his side of the family and they all surprised me at Anthony's Restaurant. It's was a great time and an amazing meal. That night I tried halibut cheeks for the first time, and I fell in love! If you've never had halibut cheeks, I highly recommend giving them a try. Ralphs grocery store told me they get them around August, and if they don't have them in store at that time that they can special order some. Whole Foods Market told me that if I give them notice they are pretty sure they can get some in. Both places estimated a per pound price of between $15 and $17 dollars. Not cheap - but oh so good!
But I digress - especially since this post is about halibut collars, not cheeks! Well, Jeff and I went to the local Channel Islands farmers market a couple days ago. We visited the local vendors and sampled their fruits and awed at their veggies - I got some beautiful baby bok choy that I used in the above recipe. We ate tamales, fish tacos, shrimp tacos, and king crab legs - yeah, we went there for lunch! Well down at the pier at the farmers market they sell crab and fish. And they had halibut! I only had $5.00 on me, but they had a halibut head with collar available for.. wait for it ... $5.00! haha! With-out really thinking, I grabbed it up. I don't know what I was thinking - I have no idea how to butcher that cut of fish! So the next day I did some research on-line and I did my best with the cheeks (tune in next Wednesday for the cheek recipe) and then continued to massacre the collar. I made 4 good hunks of fish out of the collar and I'm really happy with how it turned out. I will definately be making this recipe again.
The collar is the boney piece of the fish right behind the gills. In American cuisine it doesn't get used a lot because there are so many bones in varying sizes, and the bones are removed while it's eaten. The meat on this fish was SSOOO good and totally worth dealing with bones and getting my fingers involved with my eating (hey, they're my favorite utensil anyway!). Another good thing is that collars are pretty cheap - usually several dollars cheaper per pound than their respective fillets - and easy to cook. Ask your fish monger if they can get some for you if they don't already sell them.
In this recipe I also used some baby bok choy that I got at the farmers market, I sliced them in half and very quickly blanched them (cook for no more than 1 minute!), dried them and set them aside for use later in the recipe. When we were at the store they had some beautiful little neck clams, so we got a few of those and I added them to this recipe - they are optional.
The marinade on these collars is very heavy and rich and really needs some acid to accompany it to balance the flavors. You can serve this with lemon wedges or a balsamic glaze. I used a beautiful Blackberry & Ginger balsamic that I just picked up from Pappardelle's Pasta at the LA Farmers Market. You will want to use a nice thicker balsamic rather than your every day balsamic because their rich tartness compliments this dish perfectly.
This recipe serves 2
1 halibut collar, devided into parts (2 to 4)
2 TBSP miso paste
1 TBSP Oil
1 tsp red curry paste
1 tsp mirin
1/2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1-2 handfuls of baby bok choy, cut in half and quickly blanched and dried
1 lbs cleaned little neck clams (optional)
1 shallot, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup white wine
1 TBSP butter
1/2 cup Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
Fresh lemon wedges or a balsamic glaze
1) Combine the miso paste, curry paste, lemon jice, oil and mirin. Mix well. Slather onto the collar peices and allow to sit for 20 minutes. Pre-heat broiler to high. Place slathered halibut collars onto a cookie sheet, skin side up. Broil for several minutes until fish and sauce start to blacken, flip fish over and repeat.
2) Meanwhile, in a saute pan melt the butter and saute the shallot and garlic until tender. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes - add the clams and cover the saute pan. Allow to cook until the clams open (a couple minutes). Remove the clams to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Add the chili sauce to the remaining liquid and allow to simmer until liquid is thickened; approximately 5 minutes.
3) Toss the bok choy in the sauce and remove to your serving platter(s). Pour remaining sauce from the pan into the bottom of your serving platter(s) and top with the cooked halibut and add the clams to the plate. Serve with wedges of lemon or drizzle with a balsamic glaze.