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Good-Looking Prosciutto-Wrapped Halibut

Prosciutto-Wrapped Halibut

There are secrets to impressing people. You can buy the book and learn how to “win friends and influence people” the old fashioned way. Or you can be born good-looking. That’s a surefire way to impress people (and thereby win friends). I’m not being glib either. Attractive people get all the breaks in life. There’s science to prove it. But this is a food blog. You can’t actually see me, so I have to impress you with good-looking food! This Prosciutto-Wrapped Halibut with Summer Squash is really good-looking food.

While there are quite a few similarities between good-looking people and good-looking food (both are broadly perceived to be healthier) there are also differences and they’re as plain as the aquiline nose on my face.

To start, good-looking people usually require a lot of work to remain good-looking. However, good-looking food doesn’t usually last long enough to have to toil through the burden of middle age. And unlike the beautiful people I know, the beauty regime of most food is really quite simple. It can even be as easy as combining ingredients in new or at least uncommon ways. I figure this trend probably started with bacon. Bacon is a lot like good-looking people, you can’t help but look twice and lick your lips. So somewhere down the line, someone got the idea to wrap unattractive food – like chicken livers and scallops – in bacon.

When it comes to either people or food – I like to think I’m not always swayed by a pretty face. I often love the ugly stuff even more than the obvious beauties (oysters, blue cheese, noni). But not everyone is as self-involved (I mean evolved) as I am. Take fish. Some people go all squeamish at the thought of fish, especially raw fish. That’s because raw fish, like my aquiline nose, doesn’t appeal to everyone. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Halibut

To prove this theory I’ve decided to wrap a piece of fish in bacon. Well, prosciutto really. Because if bacon can make a chicken liver pretty, imagine what the elegance of prosciutto could do for fish. Which also makes me wonder what it could do for my aquiline nose. GREG

raw halibut frilletProsciutto-Wrapped Halibut Halibut in Brown Paper Wrapper

Prosciutto- Wrapped Halibut with Summer Squash

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*Brine the fish: Combine ¼ cup kosher salt and 2 cups water in a large mixing bowl and stir to dissolve the salt. Add 4 cups ice. Place the fillet in the brine and leave for 1 hour. Remove the fish from the brine, dip briefly in salt-free ice water and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Lay fish out flat on parchment-lined baking sheets and refrigerate, unwrapped, for a minimum of 4 hours.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Halibut with Summer Squash

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil (divided, plus more for drizzling)
  • 1 small yellow summer squash (cut into ¼‑inch dice)
  • 1 small green summer squash (cut into ¼‑inch dice)
  • 3 (3 x 1‑inch) strips jarred, roasted red pepper (cut into ¼‑inch dice)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (divided)
  • 1 pinch each kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper (as needed)
  • 1 brined halibut fillet (about 7 x 3½-inches) * see note
  • 10 very thin slices prosciutto
  • 2 tablespoon crème fraîche
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, divided

Directions

Place the oven rack in the top position and heat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saute pan set over medium heat. Add the diced squash and cook shaking the pan often until the vegetables soften some, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the diced red pepper and ½ teaspoon thyme leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Starting directly in front of you lay a slice of prosciutto flat on a parchment-lined surface. Lay the second piece just above the first overlapping about 1 inch, followed (working upwards) by a third, fourth and fifth slice. Then repeat the overlapping pattern with the second five slices starting from the top down. This should make the overlapping seams unaligned in a way that adds strength to the rectangle of prosciutto slices about 6 x 11-inches that lays in front of you.

Slice the fish fillet in half lengthwise giving you two equally sized strips about 1 ½‑inch by 7‑inch. Place one of the pieces crosswise at the bottom of the prosciutto slices. Dollop the crème fraîche just above the fish, spreading directly on the prosciutto, then sprinkle about 3 tablespoons of the squash mixture onto the crème fraîche, followed by the lemon zest. Lay the remaining piece of fish just above the squash and crème fraîche, snuggling them together somewhat. You should have a sandwich of fish and filling laying on its side just at the bottom edge of the rectangle of overlapping prosciutto slices.

Then, working carefully to keep the prosciutto slices interconnected, roll the fish upwards until it is completely wrapped in the prosciutto. Tie the bundle closed in three places with kitchen twine, leaving the end of the fish exposed.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in an oven proof or cast iron skillet. Add the prosciutto-wrapped fish and cook until golden brown, about 2–3 minutes per side. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with remaining ½ teaspoon thyme leaves, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and black pepper. Move the skillet to the heated oven and roast until the fish is cooked through, about 7 minutes depending on thickness. Fillets are done when a thin-bladed knife will pass through their thickest point with little resistance.

While the fish finishes cooking gently reheat the remaining vegetables, then divide them between 2 plates. When the fish has cooked, use a serrated knife to cut the prosciutto-wrapped halibut on a diagonal into 2 equally sized pieces. Lay them on top of the warm vegetables, drizzle with olive oil and serve immediately.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Halibut