- 6 (5-ounce) portions fresh halibut cut 3/4-inch thick
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons grated lime zest
- 12 to 16 large chard leaves, tough center rib removed
- 2 cups sliced oyster mushrooms
- 2/3 cup finely sliced scallions
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup rich fish or mushroom stock
- Thai Curry Cream (recipe follows)
- Garnish: Cilantro sprigs and finely sliced, deep-fried leeks (white part only)
One of the most interesting food tours you can take is down the aisles of an Asian and especially Southeast Asian grocery store. There are all kinds of strange, exotic ingredients that generally are inexpensive and certainly worth a try. Over the years I've shopped in a couple of stores fairly regularly and have just been amazed at the diversity of products available, especially curry pastes. They come in every color and flavor imaginable, are delicious and very different from Indian curries. The curry paste I like best for this dish is one called Matsaman curry, a red curry. I encourage you to try them all and use your favorite mixture.
Season halibut lightly with salt, pepper and lime zest and set aside. Blanch chard leaves in lightly salted water for 5 to 10 seconds until softened and then immediately plunge into ice water to stop cooking and set color. Pat dry and wrap halibut pieces completely with leaves.
To serve: Add mushrooms, scallions and olive oil to an oven-proof saute pan large enough to hold fish in one layer. Saute mushroom mixture until its just beginning to color. Place wrapped fish on top of mushroom mixture, add the wine and stock and cover. Finish cooking fish on top of stove over moderate heat or in a preheated 400 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until fish is cooked through. With a spatula, lift fish and its mushroom bed and place attractively on warm plates. Pour sauce around and garnish with cilantro sprigs and deep fried leeks on top of wrapped fish.