Saturday, May 09, 2009

1461. ALASKAN HALIBUT TAGINE with ELEPHANT GARLIC CONFIT, WHITE BEANS, STEAMED MUSSELS, RAPINI and SMOKED BACON

serves four


For the elephant garlic confit
3 heads elephant garlic, cloves peeled and separated
1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Place the cloves in a small pot and cover with the olive oil (you may need more oil depending on the size of your pot). Cook slowly on the lowest setting of your stove until the garlic is soft. Set aside to cool.


For the broth
1 cup dried white beans (such as navy or cannelini)
1 each carrot, peeled and cut into 1” chunks
1 each onion, peeled and quartered
1 each garlic clove, peeled
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 each bay leaf
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 lb slab bacon (preferably skin-on)
6 cups chicken stock

Soak the beans overnight in two quarts of cold water. Discard the water and place the beans in a 4qt sauce pot and cover with the chicken stock. Wrap all of the remaining ingredients in cheesecloth, tie securely with kitchen twine, and throw the bundle in the pot with the beans. Simmer over very low heat until the beans are tender (one to two hours).

Discard the cheesecloth and its contents. Drain the beans and allow to cool. Set aside. Place the bean liquid into a clean saucepan and reduce slowly until you have about two cups. Reserve.


Assembly

4 each Alaskan halibut filet, skin-off 5 oz portions
¼ lb slab bacon, cut into lardons (1/4” x ¼” x 1”)
1 bunch rapini, bottom 2” of stems discarded, washed thoroughly
4 each baby carrots, peeled and cut into ¼” rounds
1 lb mussels, well-scrubbed and beards removed
1 each lemon
1 pinch chile flakes (if desired)

Preheat the oven to 400Âș. Render bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove from fat and drain on a paper towel. Place two cups of the cooked beans in the center of the tagine. Arrange rapini around the beans. Place carrots, mussels, and cooked elephant garlic over the rapini. Season the halibut with salt and pepper, and brush with a little of the reserved bacon fat. Place the halibut in the center of the tagine over the beans. Finally, add the reduced bean cooking liquid. Cover and bake in a 400?oven until the halibut is beginning to flake and the mussels have all opened, about 35 minutes. Just before serving, scatter the bacon over the dish, grate lemon zest over all, sprinkle the chili flakes around and drizzle about three tablespoons of the garlic cooking oil into the broth. Bring to the table covered, and remove the cover tableside so your guests can enjoy the aroma. Serve in large, wide bowls with crusty bread.


bacon recipe courtesy of: Michael Mina, Mina Group, Inc., 335 Powell Street, 13th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94102

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