I’ve got some comfort food for you – with no cheese, cream or butter. I love this dish, it’s a good weeknight dinner and it works for fancy company, as well. If halibut is too dear, feel free to use cod or another firm-fleshed white fish.The only nod to springtime in this dish is the bright green spinach, which I get at our winter farmers market – big luscious, sturdy green leaves that put to shame a certain national natural foods chain store’s wimpy little baby spinach. I tire of these anodyne greens, which would make Popeye cry and shrink, simultaneously. The shoulder season, or what I refer to as spring, ranks fourth on my seasonal rankings. It’s fickle, inconsistent and for me, a sad goodbye to winter! Yet, I give it credit for its sweet surprises – a pert crocus, triumphant morning birdsong and bold, red buds that simply appear on tree branches the moment you turn your head.
I’ve also got some brain food for you. No, it’s not cauliflower, although if you abide by the doctrine of signatures, it is good for the gray matter. My girlfriend sent me a newsletter from Brain Pickings, a fabulously creative collection of literary and artistic treasures that Maria Popova excavates and shares. She sends out a free weekly ‘interestingness’ digest. Recent posts that caught my eye included two beautifully illustrated children’s books on grown-up poets, Pablo Neruda and e.e. cummings. They are on my must-buy list. Check it out. I think you will like it. It has kept me happily occupied and inspired. Maybe this and the halibut dish will do the same for you?
Lemon-Ginger Poached Halibut
Thin rice noodles (cooked)
4 tsp grated, fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 lemon (juice both halves and zest the rind)
2-3 T olive oil
sea salt and pepper
4 – 1-inch thick halibut fillets (4-6 oz)
2-3 leeks, sliced thinly, (use white and light green parts)
3 cups vegetable broth
4 cups spinach, roughly chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/4 cup sliced scallions
1. Prepare rice noodles according to package directions. Divvy up noodles into four serving dishes. Shallow bowls work best for this meal.
2. In a small bowl, mix ginger, garlic, lemon zest, 1 tsp of olive oil, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Spread mixture atop the four fillets.
3. Heat the remaining oil in a saute pan at medium. Add leeks and saute, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add broth and 1 T of lemon juice. Cover, and bring to a simmer over high heat. Place fish fillets (lemon ginger side up) in broth and cover the pan. Let the fish steam at medium-low heat until fish is cooked through – about 8-10 minutes. Use a slotted spatula to lift fish out of broth, and place in serving bowls atop the noodles.
4. Add spinach, mint and scallions to the broth and stir until spinach wilts – about one minute. Season with additional lemon juice, salt and pepper.
5. Ladle broth into bowls with fish and noodles. Sprinkle with additional scallions.
- To clean leeks, cut them down the middle lengthwise and rinse thoroughly to remove dirt and sand. Let drain and then slice.
- To make this dish gluten-free, I used rice noodles. Udon noodles (wheat flour) also work well.
- Kale would work in this dish, but I would slice it into super thin ribbons and blanch prior to tossing in the broth.