This dish is, in essence, an étude. It is another round of my play and practice with the techniques of Modern Gastronomy. While the technique for the Lemon Gel is the same as the Tomato-Prawn Gel in the dish I published last week, this time I added a new (to me) technique: a foam, one of the first of the Modernist developments that Ferran Adrià brought to the table. In this case I accomplished the foam by cooling a Sofrito and beef based stock, mixing it with Soy Lecithin and foaming it using an immersion blender. The concept is that the Soy Lecithin stabilizes the foam. The goal is that it tastes good and that its airy texture elevates the dish.
Steamed Halibut with Sofrito Foam, Lemon Gel and Dill Oil
For the Sofrito Foam
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 leek, chopped
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 2 cups of beef stock
- 1 cup of dry red wine
- 3 grams of soy lecithin
For the Lemon Gel
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons agar agar powder
For the Dill Oil
- 1 bunch fresh dill
- 2 cups canola oil
For the Steamed Halibut
- 4 halibut filets (c. 6 oz. or 170 grams)
- kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- lettuce (to line the steamer)
Wild (or Forbidden) Rice
Prepare the Sofrito Foam. Caramelize the onions, carrots and leeks in the grapeseed oil by bringing them up to temperature and then covering and simmering over low heat for five to ten minutes. Add the tomatoes and continue cooking for five more minutes. Add one cup of the beef stock, crank the heat to high and reduce until there is barely 1/3 of a cup remaining. Add the remaining stock and the wine and reduce back to 1/3 of a cup.
Prepare the Lemon Gel. Combine the lemon juice and the chicken stock in a sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the agar agar and bring the liquid back to a boil until the liquid visibly thickens. Pour the liquid into a small hotel sheet style pan (to a depth of 1 cm. or so, to taste).
Prepare the Dill Oil. Bring a pot of water to a boil and plunge the dill into the water to blanch. Rinse the dill in cold water and squeeze dry. Place the dill in the bowl of a food processor and process on high drizzling in the oil. Transfer the resulting oil to a bowl.
Prepare the Halibut. Bring a large pot of water or wok, to which you can fit a steamer basket to a boil. Meanwhile, arrange the halibut filets in the steamer basket with lettuce. Season the halibut with salt and pepper and place in the steamer basket. Steam for two to three minutes just until the halibut barely flakes. Remove from the heat.
Finish the Sofrito Foam. Strain the sofrito-beef broth and add the soy lecithin to the resulting liquid. Foam the sauce using an immersion blender, spooning off the resulting foam at every opportunity. Repeat until you have enough for the dish
- Finish and Plate the Dish. Cut the lemon gel into strips. Place approximately two tablespoons of the wild (or forbidden) rice in the center of a pate. Lean a halibut filet over the side of it, top with one to two strips of the lemon gel. Spoon the sofrito foam over the fish and garnish by drizzling dill oil around the plate and/or over the fish.