Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Coronado Flower and Car Shows, and Slow-Roasted Halibut with Shaved Asparagus and Fennel Salad

This past weekend, Coronado hosted this year's Petals 'n' Prose-themed Flower Show and MotorCars on Main Street Car Show.  We made our rounds through the flower tents in Spreckels Park on Saturday, and up and down the rows of cars around Star Park, on Sunday.   Lunch both days, at local restaurants, was below average.  Coronado's Orange Avenue would surely benefit from a few charming, sidewalk cafes that offer some creativity and freshness on their menus, and a few street vendors selling gourmet hot dogs, fish tacos, or paninis.  Don't get me started...

It was an active, but relaxing weekend, walking around and taking a few photographs.  On Monday night,  I tried a recipe from the new issue of Bon Appetit: Slow-Roasted Halibut with Shaved Asparagus and Fennel Salad.

This dish would be wonderful on a Coronado restaurant menu - local halibut, fresh Spring vegetables, a glass of Chardonnay or White Burgundy.

Home Front Judging, a division of the Coronado Flower Show, inspires everyone to spruce up their gardens and beautify the island.  This Star Park Circle cottage was honored as one of the top ten...

This 1st Street home was also in the top ten, but we particularly enjoyed the unique collection of lobster buoys hanging from all sides of the rear cottage

Flowers at the flower show...

Hood ornaments at the car show...  

And a copper Orca weathervane, by West Coast Weathervanes, proudly perched atop our friends' newly built, custom home

Slow-Roasted Halibut with Shaved Asparagus and Fennel Salad
Adapted from Bon Appetit, April 2010
(The following recipe serves 6)*
*For the two of us, I halved the ingredients, served a larger portion of salad, and used a 3/4 lb. halibut fillet.  There was  a little leftover dressing and bread crumb topping.

Ingredients for the Salad

4 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons drained capers, chopped
3/4 pound asparagus spears (about 1 bunch), trimmed
1/2 cup thinly sliced fennel bulb (preferably shaved with V-slicer)

For the Fish

Olive oil to coat halibut fillets
2 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French bread
3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
3 tablespoons butter, melted
6 6-ounce halibut fillets

Preparation for the Salad
(Dressing can be made 1 day ahead; cover and chill; bring to room temperature and whisk again before serving. Vegetables can be prepared 4 hours prior to serving; cover and chill)

In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice and mustard.  Gradually whisk in oil, then add capers.  Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Place one asparagus spear flat on work surface. Using vegetable peeler, shave asparagus into long thin strips. Place asparagus strips in medium bowl with shaved fennel.

Preparation for the Fish

Mix breadcrumbs, cheese, herbs, and lemon peel in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add melted butter and toss with fork to incorporate evenly.

Rinse halibut fillets with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.  Rub fillets with olive oil and place on a baking sheet.  Season with salt and pepper.  Take small handfuls of breadcrumb topping and gently press evenly over the top of the fillets (Can be made 1 hour ahead; cover and chill).

Preheat oven to 300°F. Bake halibut until opaque in center, about 20 minutes. Turn on broiler. Broil halibut just until breadcrumbs start to brown, about 1 minute.

Just before halibut is done baking, pour dressing over over asparagus and fennel salad and toss gently to coat.  Season salad to taste with salt and pepper.  

Fresh, healthy, light, and will want to make this more than once this Spring and Summer...  


Anonymous said...

I just made a shaved asparagus salad and loved it. Great idea to add fennel though!

Julie said...

Wow - they both look good but especially the asparagus and fennel salad. I am not a huge fan of cooked asparagus but the salad looks really tasty.

Denise said...

Arugulove and Julie - I wasn't sure if I would like the salad, being totally raw. I like asparagus steamed and roasted, and I've only had fennel in a couple dishes, where it is roasted, caramelized, and sweet. However, shaving both the asparagus and fennel makes them very delicate tasting and crunchy, and the dressing is really nice. Also, using thicker asparagus makes shaving easier. With thin asparagus that is too difficult to shave, I would probably blanch it very briefly and then plunge into ice water to stop the cooking and keep it bright green.