Halibut "Ratatouille" with Fennel Salt and Sauce Piperade Featured

Halibut "Ratatouille" with Fennel Salt and Sauce Piperade

A fun play on the classic ratatouille, a vibrant sauce piperade plays the role of the traditional tomato, pepper and onion. Dusted with fennel salt, wild Pacific halibut is pan seared and presented with a summertime ratatouille of thick julienned yellow squash, eggplant and zucchini sautéed with a bit of thyme, preserved lemon and olive oil. Rounding out this dish is a vibrant and flavorful red sauce, a piperade of roasted piquillo peppers (say that three times), garlic, caramelized sweet onions and oil-cured tomatoes, stewed and pureed silky smooth. It wouldn't be complete without mashed potatoes folded with roasted chopped shallots. Known as an easy summer dish, this ratatouille is the perfect way to enjoy an easy June day. (If you can't make it into Salty's, try our Festival Recipe, adjusted for the home cook.)

Halibut "Ratatouille" with Fennel Salt, Local Vegetables, Roasted Shallot Mashed Potatoes and Sauce Piperade

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 each 6-ounce portions halibut
fennel salt, recipe follows
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups local vegetable ratatouille, recipe follows
1 pound roasted shallot mashed potatoes, recipe follows
2 cups sauce piperade, recipe follows

Directions

Heat olive oil in a large non-stick pan to temperature over medium heat. Season halibut with fennel salt. Sear halibut to golden brown, approximately 5 minutes. Flip fish and continue cooking until medium with internal temperature of 145-150 F. Place fish atop mashed potatoes, top with roasted local vegetable ratatouille and finish with a generous spoonful of the sauce piperade.

Fennel Salt Recipe

Ingredients

1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground fennel seed

Directions

Mix salt and fennel together. Store in a small airtight container.

Local Vegetable "Ratatouille"

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
1 small Japanese eggplant (or half of a standard eggplant)
1/2 preserved lemon, rind only, finely chopped
3 sprigs fresh thyme
pinch of salt and black pepper

Directions

  1. Julienne squash, zucchini and eggplant into batons sized 3 inches long by 1/4 inch on each side (think of the shape of a skinny french fry). Set aside.
  2. Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and allow the oil to begin to barely smoke. Add the vegetables and sear for 1 minute before shaking the pan around. Add the lemon rind and thyme sprigs. Sauté for an additional 2 minutes until the vegetables are cooked and tender crisp. Drizzle with remaining oil, season with salt and pepper.
  3. Hold the vegetables at room temperature if using them within a couple of hours.

Roasted Shallot Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Ingredients

1 pound mashed potatoes
2 large shallots, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions

Preheat oven 350 F. Make 1 pound of mashed potatoes your way. Toss shallots in olive oil and roast on a sheet pan for 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool, then chop. Add to mashed potatoes.

Sauce Piperade Recipe

Ingredients

3 roma tomatoes, halved
3 cloves garlic
1/2 sweet onion, sliced
2 cups canola oil
1 cup roasted piquillo peppers
pinch of salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

Directions

  1. Place tomato, garlic and onion in a small pot, cover with the oil. Over low heat, cook the tomato-onion mix. You will begin to see small bubbles appear and once you see the bubbles it should take about 25-30 minutes for the tomatoes to become soft and fully cooked through.
  2. Drain tomato, onion and garlic and place in a blender, but don't throw out the oil — keep it refrigerated in a mason jar and use to add wonderful flavor to your dressings and vinaigrettes.
  3. Add peppers to blender and run on high for 2 minutes. In the last 30 seconds, add the butter, salt and pepper. Keep warm until ready to use.
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