Sunday, July 11, 2010

Grilled Halibut with Artichoke Caponata

If you believe there's nothing better than a piece of grilled fish with a cool vegetable relish on a hot summer night, I'm with you. Here's a great one to try: Grilled Halibut with Artichoke Caponata.

Caponata, an Italian cooked vegetable salad, typically includes eggplant, celery, capers and vinegar, often along with tomato, pine nuts and raisins, in a sweet and sour dressing. Chef Michael White's recipe, which I found in Food & Wine, uses artichoke hearts in place of the eggplant with delicious results. The original recipe called for mahimahi, which isn't readily available in these parts. I chose halibut, and it stood up very well on the grill and with the relish. Beware: this relish is vinegary (my mouth is watering recalling it), but in a delicious sweet/sour way. I made a few other changes to the recipe to suit my tastes (and available pantry items) - enjoy!

Grilled Halibut with Artichoke Caponata
Based on a recipe by Michael White
Serves 6

2 T. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for rubbing fish
4 tender celery ribs,diced (1 cup)
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup prepared tomato sauce
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup pitted green olives, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts
3 tablespoons agave nectar)
2 tablespoons small capers, drained
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons shredded basil or parsley
Six 6-ounce halibut fillets


In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 T. of olive oil
until shimmering. Add the celery, onion and garlic and cook
over moderate heat until just softened, 4 minutes. Add the
tomato sauce, wine, vinegar, artichokes, olives, pine nuts,
agave nectar and capers and season with salt and pepper. Simmer
until the vegetables are tender and the liquid is reduced, 8
minutes. Stir in the basil or parsley and let cool. (The relish can be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated until use.)

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Rub the fish with
olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over
moderately high heat, turning once, until cooked through,
about 9 minutes. (I use a sturdy grill basket to make sure I don't lose the fish in the grill grates.) Transfer the fish to plates, top with the
caponata and serve.

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