Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Prosciutto Wrapped Halibut Served Over Curried Garlic Infused Quinoa

We just came back from Palm Springs, Ca. It was a really great trip, a bit windy but a lot of fun. We even ventured over to Anaheim for an Angels game. There was a downside to all that fun though. We lost the keys to our rental vehicle to which Hertz never even attempted to help us as we were really stuck in a bind for about 4 hours about 20 miles outside of town in Cabazon. Luckily we were at Desert Hills Premium Outlets. They were all very helpful, but unfortunately the keys never showed up. Then on the way home, my Blackberry disappeared while we were in customs. Not very impressed with that I will tell you. Anyhow, we can't wait to go back there. Golfing was great, the food was great and so were the people. I made some interesting acquaintances and look forward to lining up with them again soon.

While we were there, I had to use a gift certificate for Williams Sonoma which I had won in a contest on 12 Tomatoes for my turkey recipe. I wasn't sure what I wanted as I had to take it back on the plane with us. I looked around for about 5 minutes and there it was, Plenty, a cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi. Kirsteen has raved about him for quite some time and has told me I have to buy his books when I get the chance. So far I'm pretty impressed by his recipes and will definitely try them soon.

Recently, I read an article from Zagats (via my pal Kirsteen) about the 8 most overrated foods. Things like ramps (#1, they don't grow here so I don't know a thing about them), truffle oil (#2), Kobe beef (#3) and so on. I can agree with most of them (although I do tend to use truffle oil once in awhile), but quinoa?? Come on now. I do agree with the fact we are now buying so much of it this can drive up the price and the people who rely on it may not be able to afford it at some point, but to say it's boring is just plain wrong. Quinoa is one of those things you need to be creative with if you want it to be something other than just something on your plate you eat only because it's good for you. You find ways to add flavor to it and in my case try to add any ingredients which add extra health benefits along with extra flavor. Isn't this what differentiates a good cook from a person who says they are good in the kitchen because they can make a good omelet??

I love eating quinoa for the health benefits, but also enjoy cooking with it because it takes on other flavors quite well. This is good for a side to a ingredient like halibut. If something as nice as halibut is your main focus on the dish, then why would you serve it with something which overpowers it's subtle flavor? A nice salad is a good idea as well, but quinoa is healthier and doesn't require a vinaigrette or a dressing to complete it. Adding curry powder and/or garlic is a great way to add flavor without adding any extra fat.

Ingredients

Halibut

- 2 100g fillets of halibut, skinned
- 4 pieces of thinly sliced prosciutto
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- EVOO

Quinoa

- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1 cup water
- 2 cloves of garlic, whole but broken by being pressed with the side of your knife
- 1/2 tsp curry powder
- 8 cherry tomatoes, quartered

Directions

1) Preheat your oven to 350F. Pour the quinoa into a small pot over medium-high heat. Do this so the quinoa starts to brown. You will know when it's ready to add water when the seeds start to snap a little and it starts to smell nutty. Crank the heat up to high, add the water, curry powder and the garlic. Stir and bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to low for 10 minutes. When done, set aside for 5 minutes and then mix it up with a fork to "fluff" it up a bit.


2) After you cover the quinoa to let simmer, place the pieces of prosciutto (2 for each fillet) on a cutting board and slightly overlap them lengthwise. Pat dry the fillets with paper towel all over and place them on the prosciutto. Lightly sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Go easy on the salt as the prosciutto is salty. Wrap the halibut up in the meat and make sure the end of the prosciutto is on the bottom with the part of the fish where the skin used to be.


3) In a frying pan, pour a little EVOO in and place the halibut in with the seam of the prosciutto down. Cook for 1 minute and then place in the oven for 18-20 minutes. You will know it is cooked when the fish is white all the way through and there is no opaque/clear-ish color to the fish. It should also be fairly firm, but not hard.
4) The quinoa should be ready to go, so mix in the tomatoes and spoon on to a plate. Place the halibut over top and serve.
Yield: Serves 2


This dish is nice and light. Halibut is a good choice to eat as it's loaded with vitamins and minerals, especially tryptophan (which helps you sleep) and selenium. Besides that, it's also a good source of protein. It's firm, white meat has a slightly sweet flavor and cooks very easily. Eat it as much as you can, but make sure you bake or broil it (any fish for that matter), not fry it to maximize it's health benefits. Deep frying tends to diminish any healthy characteristics of any fish you eat, so try to be more patient when cooking. What's 10-20 extra minutes out of your life so you can eat a little healthier??


Little O's Menu

While in Palm Springs (between going to the kiddie pool and shopping), we made good and sure she was well watered and fed. She has really started to like drinking water now and this is a big deal as she never liked drinking it before, so obviously this makes us very happy. With the temperatures hanging around 95F (32C), even though that's a little on the cool side for the area, if you're not used to the heat you can become dehydrated quite quickly. Southern California has an abundance of fresh fruit, so we were able to keep her busy eating mangoes, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and bananas along with her regular yogurt. We tried feeding her honey flavored Greek yogurt and she loved it. We bought The Greek Gods yogurt as it boasts 89% organic ingredients and if we don't keep buying that brand, we will definitely add honey to her regular yogurt feast from now on.

Restaurant Review

We went to Ristorante Mama Gina a few years ago when we were last in Palm Springs, so we thought we would try it again, this time with an extra mouth to feed. The atmosphere is always nice and there's lots of natural light coming through the front of the house as it's all glass. They start you off by giving you three types of bread with olive paste on the side to snack on while you glance over the wine list and the menu. We started off with a bottle of 2006 Coltibuono Chianti Classico, and within 10 minutes our meals arrived. Mrs. Big City Eater had the Gnocchi al Gorgonzola, which was fantastic. Light and fluffy, the gnocchi had a nice Gorgonzola flavor which wasn't overpowering. I had the Linguine alla Puttanesca and was impressed with the different levels of flavor the dish had. Nice and simple, I would order it again in a heartbeat. The waiter was great except for the fact he kept forgetting about us and would come rushing back apologizing. Poor guy, I thought his head was going to explode for a minute there once or twice. We will be going back the next time we are in the area.

Quote Of The Day:

"Why does Sea World have a seafood restaurant? I'm halfway through my fish burger and I realize, Oh my God.... I could be eating a slow learner."

Lynda Montgomery - American comedian


Until next time, good eating everyone.

Mark