Roasted halibut with Szechuan aubergines

Roasted halibut with Szechuan aubergines

By
From
A Year In My Kitchen
Serves
4

The flavour of these aubergines is based on the style of cooking found in the province of Szechuan in China. Said by some to be the greatest of all Chinese cooking styles, it certainly has a complexity about it that I love. If you can find them, fiery Szechuan peppercorns – roasted and ground – give this dish its final hat. The pickled aubergines would also work brilliantly served cold with slices of rare roast beef or pink lamb.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4 halibut fillets
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

Pickled aubergines

Quantity Ingredient
500g aubergines
bunch coriander, washed
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
5cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
5 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
5 tablespoons shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon see method for ingredients, Chilli Oil
4 tablespoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon szechuan peppercorns, roasted and ground, (optional)

To finish

Quantity Ingredient
extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle

Method

  1. First prepare the aubergines. Cut them in half lengthways and then into 2.5cm cubes. Place in a colander, salt well and set aside for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, separate the coriander stems and roots, saving a handful of the leaves. Pound the roots and stems using a pestle and mortar. Pat the aubergine cubes dry with kitchen paper.
  2. Place a wok over a medium-high heat, add the oil and heat until almost smoking. Fry the aubergine cubes in small batches until golden brown on all sides, then remove and drain on kitchen paper.
  3. Pour off excess oil from the wok, then add the ginger, shallots, garlic and pounded coriander root and stems. Stir-fry for a minute or two, then add the soy sauces, rice wine vinegar, Shaoxing wine, chilli oil and finally the sugar. Allow to bubble vigorously for a minute or so.
  4. Return the aubergine to the wok, turn down the heat a little and cook for a further 2 minutes, tossing and turning the aubergine so it absorbs the sweet, sour flavours. Roughly tear the coriander leaves and toss them through the aubergine with the ground Szechuan pepper if using.
  5. To cook the halibut, preheat the oven to 180°C. Season the fish generously with salt and pepper. Heat a large ovenproof pan (that will hold the fish without overcrowding (use two pans if necessary). Add the olive oil and when it is just starting to smoke, lay the halibut, skin side down, in the pan. Cook for 2 minutes without moving or turning, then place the pan in the oven (still without turning the fish) and cook for a further 3 minutes. By now, the skin will be gloriously brown and crunchy.
  6. Place a spoonful or two of the pickled aubergines on each warm plate. Carefully turn the fish and lay it skin side down alongside. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve.
Tags:
seasonal
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