Thursday, October 15, 2009

Things Fall Apart

As Yeats wrote, "Things Fall Apart. The centre cannot hold." Well, in this case it was the potatoes. Despite a handy step by step guide aptly titled "How to Wrap Fish with Potatoes", the darn tubers just wouldn't stay around the halibut and instead of ending up with this:

I got this:
Still very tasty, but it'd get an F in presentation.

I've included the recipe (from March '09 Bon Appetit) but I've concluded that next time I'll cook the 'chips' separately from the fish, then use them as artful garnish. Same flavor result, less headache. The spinach accompaniment was easy, tasty and not at all obstinate, I'll admit. Enjoy the photo essay chronicling my ill-fated effort to keep the fillets wrapped sans the curse words uttered during the actual cooking process.

Potato-Wrapped Halibut
Bon Appetit March 2009
Recipe by Greg Atkinson
Photograph by Levi Brown
6 servings

4-ounce halibut fillets (each about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick)
4 3-inch-long unpeeled Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed
tablespoons olive oil, divided
garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
ounces fresh baby spinach leaves (about 16 cups loosely packed)

Pat fish dry; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place large sheet of parchment on work surface. Halve each potato lengthwise. Using V-slicer or mandoline, slice each potato half very thinly. Set 5 to 6 slices on parchment in row, overlapping long sides. Make another row that overlaps short ends of first row, forming 6x5-inch rectangle. Sprinkle rectangle with salt and pepper. Set 1 fillet across overlapped short ends of slices. Fold sides of rectangle over fish, forming packet. Press to adhere. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Repeat with remaining potato slices and fish fillets.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in each of 2 large skillets over medium-high heat. Set 3 wrapped fish fillets, seam side down, in each skillet. Cook until golden on bottom, about 3 minutes. Turn; cook until fish is opaque in center, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer to plates; cover to keep warm.

Add 2 tablespoons oil to 1 skillet. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Add 1/3 of spinach; toss with tongs until spinach begins to wilt. Add remaining spinach in 2 additions; stir just until beginning to wilt. Season with salt and pepper. Divide spinach among plates with fish and serve.

I suspect my potato slices were just not thin enough despite the mandolin being on the thinnest level that would actually slice.

Halibut pre-portioning

Hopes are high!

It stays as long as I'm holding it together!

But then they go in to the pan

Stay, darnit!

I said stay!

Ugh. Browned and crispy, but not pretty

Time for Plan B. I crisped up the remaining potato slices in the pan and sprinkled them with salt, pepper and fresh thyme. They tasted better than anything in the actual recipe.

Yum. Spinach with garlic. The sole triumph of the meal

1 comment:

Hera said...

Julia likely cursed in French!