It’s market basket week in culinary school. Each day, we all receive a list of essential ingredients to create a dish, just like the competitors on one of my favorite Food Network shows, Chopped. I have a lot of respect for those chefs. It’s stressful to try to be creative with dishes under the gun. I am fine doing it at home but in school, we have to make a restaurant-quality meal. That’s a whole different level. Our chef expects us to demonstrate some of the more intricate techniques we have learned and plate the food beautifully. Part of his criteria for judging is whether or not the final product could respectably be placed on a nice New York City restaurant’s menu.
The other difficult part is that we have to decide what we are going to make, write it down as it would appear on a menu and let the chef know at the beginning of class. It’s one thing to fly by the seat of your pants and invent as you go but, conceptualizing a dish you’ve never made and then actually having to stick to the plan is pretty challenging. I won’t say I’m hitting it out of the park but, I’m doing ok so far. Sunday night is the real test because we have our market basket practical exam. Oy! Wish me luck on that one, please.
One of the plates I created had a similar marinade as the one I used for this halibut. I basically grabbed a ton of herbs, chopped them up and added some citrus. This marinde is so bright, flavorful and versatile. I actually added a little heat with red thai chili paste for the dish I made in school. The market dish I presented was a pan-seared, thai-seasoned poussin over coconut rice with a spicy thai coconut broth. I kept the marinade mild for the halibut since it is such a nice fish and I wanted to taste it. Halibut steak can definitely stand up to the grill so fire it up and enjoy these last few weeks of summer BBQs!
- 1⅕ lb halibut steak
- 1 cup of chopped herbs (I used about a handful each of purple basil, green basil, cilantro and mint but you can use ½ cup green basil and ½ cup cilantro to keep it simple)
- 2 tsp of lemongrass root, sliced thin
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ orange, juiced plus 1 tsp of zest
- ½ lemon, juiced plus ½ tsp of zest
- ½ lime, juiced plus ½ tsp of zest
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Remaining halves of citrus, sliced for garnish (optional)
- Clean the halibut steak and place it in a large baking dish
- Mix the chopped herbs, lemongrass citrus, olive oil and salt together
- Pour mixture over the halibut making sure to coat on both sides and allow to marinate for no more than 10-15 minutes
- Heat your grill or grill pan over med-high heat
- Brush the marinade off of the halibut on both sides and place it on the grill (reserve the marinade)
- After about 2-3 minutes, turn the halibut 90 degrees on the same side and allow it to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes before repeating this process on the other side. This is how you can achieve the nice cross-hatch pattern, if you want. Otherwise, just cook it on one side for about 5 minutes and do the same on the other.
- While the halibut is grilling, pour the herb marinade into a small saucepan and boil for 1-2 minutes.
- The fish is cooked when the internal temperature is about 145 degrees or you are able to flake the meat easily with a fork
- Remove to serving tray and pour the herb marinade on top.
- Garnish with sliced citrus, serve and enjoy!