Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Make This Tonight: Summer Comfort Food

Ingredients: Halibut, tomatoes, broccolini, and beans.

For the most part, my cravings are entirely in step with the seasons. In the winter I prefer heartier, warmer meals like soups, stews, and roasts and in the summer I tend to eat lighter, cooler foods with a higher water content such as raw or grilled fruits and veggies and lean proteins.

But sometimes I like to change it up, which is exactly what I did this past Sunday. I wanted something that would fill the very depths of my belly without being heavy or greasy. I found the perfect solution: Italian Flag Halibut. The original recipe comes from Rachael Ray (her titles of recipes are questionable--this one earned its moniker, I suppose, because it's red, white, and green. I wouldn't exactly describe the flavor as Italian, however.) The health content of her recipes are also sometimes iffy: She's often heavy on the cream, butter, and cheese. Not so with this summer dinner. All of the ingredients are healthy and in-season. It's rich in good-for-you fats and packed with nutrients thanks to the greens (broccolini), tomatoes, garlic, and beans. And it's even better for you because I doubled the amount of veggies found in the original recipe. You're welcome.

So here you go: A summer Sunday dinner winner. (Maybe the dumb titles thing is contagious.)

Italian Flag Halibut
Serves: 4

4 bunches of broccolini
4 skinless halibut fillets (About 6 oz each) (NOTE: I used frozen fillets because they're less expensive and equally fresh. Thaw in a bowl of cold water for about 20 minutes beforehand.)
Extra virgin olive oil
6 large cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
6 medium tomatoes cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1.5 cans cannellini beans, rinsed
1-2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • Discard the leaves from the broccolini and cut the stalks into 1/2-inch pieces.
  • Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the fish dry and season with salt and pepper. Lightly coat the bottom of the skillet with olive oil. Add the fish and cook until nicely golden brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Flip the fish and cook until firm, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
  • Add the garlic and a little more olive oil (about 1 Tbsp). Cook, stirring and scraping up the browned bits, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the broccolini and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, beans and 1 cup broth and cook, stirring occasionally until the broccolini is tender and tomatoes have broken down and become a little saucy, about 5 minutes. If you're feeling extra saucy, add a little more broth and continue cooking a bit longer.
  • Spoon the tomato-broccolini-bean mixture onto each plate and top with a portion of the fish. Lightly salt and pepper. Enjoy!

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