We’re nearing the end of the Christian Lenten season which begins on Ash Wednesday (preceded by the celebrations of Shrove (or Fat) Tuesday) and continues for 40 days until Easter Sunday. Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. The tradition of eating fish on Fridays is commonplace as is the convivial parish fish fry during Lent.
I’d like to share with you this lovely Spring recipe from Bon Appétit that includes a delicate piece of halibut wrapped in bright cabbage leaves, perfect any time of year, but I thought it especially appropriate for Fish Friday!
Cabbage Rolls with Halibut, Browned Butter, and Capers
Adapted from Bon Appétit, March 2011
• Ice cubes
• 6 large savoy cabbage leaves*
• 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided*
• 1/4 cup drained capers, divided*
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
• Coarse kosher salt
• 6 4-ounce halibut fillets
* Notes: My CSA delivery included an organic green cabbage – which is a vibrant green compared to the pale “green” cabbages found in supermarkets, so I used it instead of savoy cabbage. Also, I cook heart-healthy for The Don (and myself now that my cholesterol count has gone up) and eliminated half of the butter by not browning the fish packets and using the pan sauce as is.
• Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Fill large bowl with ice cubes and water; set aside. Add cabbage leaves to boiling water; cook 2 minutes. Using slotted skimmer or large slotted spoon, transfer leaves to bowl of ice water to cool. Drain. Gently pat dry.
• Place 4 tablespoons butter in small bowl. Chop 2 tablespoons capers and mix into bowl with butter, then stir in parsley. Season caper butter to taste with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.
• Place 1 cabbage leaf, vein side up, on work surface. Using small sharp knife, trim off some of thickest part of large center vein so that leaf will lie flat. Turn leaf over, vein side down. Place 1 fish fillet on bottom third of cabbage leaf. Sprinkle fish with coarse salt and pepper. Spread 1 tablespoon caper butter over fish. Fold bottom, then sides of leaf over fish. Fold tip of leaf over, enclosing fish completely. Place fish packet, seam side down, on rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cabbage leaves, fish, coarse salt, pepper, and caper butter. DO AHEAD Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and chill.
• Preheat oven to 350°F. Sprinkle fish packets with coarse salt and pepper. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish packets to skillet and cook until cabbage is light golden, about 2 minutes per side. (I skipped the browning step, thinking that the drizzle of butter caper sauce would brown the packets sufficiently – and it did.) Return fish packets, seam side down, to same baking sheet. Bake until fish is just opaque in center and firm to touch, about 7 minutes.
• Transfer fish packets to platter; cover with foil to keep warm. Place baking sheet over 2 burners on medium heat; add remaining 3 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons capers to baking sheet and cook until butter is golden brown, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons water to butter mixture and swirl to blend. Season (pan) sauce to taste with coarse salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over fish and serve.
Shown served with barley and shiitake mushroom risotto. Enjoy 🙂
Wishing you sunny days this weekend! And, last but not least, I was reminded of the genuine and generous spirit of the über-talented Victoria of Mission: Food when she celebrated her birthday last weekend and wanted to thank her for the two wonderful awards she bestowed upon me months ago. Mah bad for it taking me so long, I repent!