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Pan Roasted Halibut with French-Cut Beans, Bacon, and Salsa Verde

This recipe comes to us from British expat Matt Wright, the Seattle-based author of the great WrightFood blog. 

Here's what he wrote about it: “Salsa verde is such a lively, fresh, herby taste that I just love it in summer with simple seafood. Having quite a bit of mint in this one really goes great with beans too.”
“You will notice my complete inaccuracy in the ingredients for the salsa verde. If you like mint, add more mint. Likewise with basil or anchovies. Learn to make this one using taste and smell – it isn't a dish of precision, more bursting fresh flavor.” 

Pan Roasted Halibut with French-Cut Beans, Bacon, and Salsa Verde
Serves 2 

2 handfuls fresh string beans (ideally, romano beans or scarlet runner beans)
2 pieces of fatty bacon, cut into small cubes (lardons) or salmon bacon
1 small handful fresh flat leaf parsley
1 small handful fresh basil
8 mint leaves
2 anchovy fillets (optional)
1 clove garlic
1 dill pickle
1 small handful capers
Organic extra virgin olive oil
Splash of organic red wine vinegar

Salsa verde
  • Finely chop, by hand*, the parsley basil and mint. Put in a medium sized bowl. Finely chop* the pickle and capers, and add to the bowl. Do the same for the optional anchovy fillets*.
  • Mash the garlic clove, and add. Add a splash of red wine vinegar, and now a good few glugs of the olive oil. Mix. If it is looking too dry, add more olive oil. Keep adding until everything looks moist, and there is a little oil in the bottom of the bowl.
  • Let the verde stand at room temperature whilst you prepare everything else.
*I like to chop these salsa ingredients by hand, so that you see some great texture. The food processor is an option, but it will come out looking like mush, with the texture of mush. In my mind, salsa verde is a sauce best left to a day when you have patience!

  • French cut the beans. Top and tail the bean, and cut it into thin sections, lengthwise. If you have a bean slicer then use it to top and tail the bean, and push/pull it through the slicer.
  • Preheat oven to 400F. Get a large pot of boiling water on the go for the beans.
  • Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a medium sized frying pan (big enough for both pieces of halibut). When the oil is hot, put the fish in, flesh side down. Regulate the heat carefully. We don't want this to burn – a golden yellow color is perfect. Cook the fish like this for about 4 minutes – until the flesh is nicely golden.
  • Put the beans into the boiling water, and boil for 6 minutes. Do not overdo, overcooked beans are quite a letdown. Strain when done.
  • Heat up a thick pan – preferably a well-seasoned cast iron one. When hot, fry the bacon in this for about 4 minutes, until just cooked through. (Salmon bacon will take much less time; do not overcook.)
  • Flip the fish over, and put it in the oven, for about 6 more minutes – this depends on the thickness of your halibut. The fish is done when it is opaque throughout, and flakes easily with a fork.
  • In a large bowl toss the beans and the bacon together. Put a pile of salsa verde in the center of a plate. Push it into a circle using the back of a spoon. Top this with a generous helping of beans. Very carefully place the halibut fillet on top.
  • Serve immediately.
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