It’s officially spring now. So what springs into your mind this time of year? Why peas of course! As soon as I hear that distinct boing from a spring that has fully sprung I start thinking about ways to cook with sweet, fresh English peas. However, as I was making this pea puree I began to wonder why I wait until spring to get so excited about peas. Peas are the ultimate vegetable. They’re reliable, versatile and almost as good frozen as fresh. In fact, most of us always have a bag of frozen peas lurking in our freezer, but it’s rare that we ever let them be the star of the show.
This halibut recipe features springtime peas (fresh or frozen) in a mash of what I’d more properly what call a pea puree. It’s not much more than lightly seasoned smashed peas blended with a little half-and-half. However, it’s a simple combination they really absorbs the surrounding flavors very well. It also adds a beautiful color and texture to your plate. GREG
I typically brine halibut for about 1 hour the day before cooking in a 5% brine solution. Which works out to be about ¼ cup easily dissolvable sea salt to about 6 generous cups of very icy water. Rinse and dry the fish very well before following this recipe.
- 6 (6 oz) halibut filets (about 2 ¼ pounds total)
- 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ¼ cup minced fresh shallots
- 1 pound fresh, shelled or frozen, thawed peas
- 1 cup water
- salt and pepper (as needed)
- ½ cup half-and-half (plus more if needed)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- pickled mustard seeds (optional, see recipe)
Lightly brush halibuts fillets evenly with mustard on both sides and let marinate uncovered in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Remove the fish from the refrigerator about ½ hour before you want to cook it.
Meanwhile, heat butter in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add shallots; cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add peas, 1 cup water, and a big pinch each salt and pepper. Cover partially with lid; cook until sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes. Set aside and keep warm. Using a slotted spoon move a bit more than half of the peas to a blender leaving the liquid behind in the skillet. Add half-and-half to the blender of peas, and big pinch each salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Adjust consistency with a touch more half-and-half if necessary, but don’t let it get too soupy. Transfer the pea puree to a saucepan and keep warm over low heat.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a 12″ or larger cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add halibut; cook, turning once, until golden brown (about 4 minutes total cooking or to an interior temperature of 117 degrees F). Remove from heat, season lightly with salt, and let rest 3 or 4 minutes.
To serve, divide pea puree among 6 dinner plates and top each with a halibut fillet; spoon over some of the whole peas and some of their sauce. Garnish with pickled mustard seeds (if using) and serve immediately.
Once refrigerated they need to be gently reheated before use. This can be done in the microwave for a few seconds if you keep them stored in a microwave-safe container.
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup water
- 3/4 cup white wine vinegar
- ½ cup whole mustard seeds
- 1 clove peeled garlic
In a small saucepan over high heat, combine all of the ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 25 to 35 minutes, until the mixture has thickened to the consistency of syrup (but is not as thick as honey). Let cool, transfer to a nonreactive airtight container, and refrigerate for up to 1 month.
This dish is so colorful and with those ingredients I know it’s got loads of flavor! Really gorgeous food, Greg!
Pickled mustard seeds!! A revelation, for sure. My mind is racing, thinking of all the things I could top with them.
Beautiful dish, Greg.
I have done this with salmon and its so good, but your’s is so much prettier!
Those mustard seeds look terrific! I’ve not prepared them that way — love the idea of pickling them, though. And this whole dish is terrific — perfect springtime fare. Thanks!
Mustard lends the best flavor to fish and chicken (and a tart I made today) but I’ve never pickled mustard seed before. Love this recipe! (and I’m guilty of having peas in my freezer and always forgetting to use them.)
Well, I’ve just added pickled mustard seeds to my “must-try” list. This whole dish sounds like it’s popping with flavor. I love it.
A pretty delicious puree, I must say. 🙂 Is a must have for the dinner
The colours in this dish are simply gorgeous! I am intrigued by the pickled mustard seeds! They must add a luxurious pop to the otherwise smooth and creamy dish. Frozen peas and corn are the only vegetables that I keep in the freezer, how did you know?!
I think you have just created the perfect spring dish! And it has halibut. My fave!
Brilliant — pickled mustard seeds! There are probably hundreds of boring week night meals that could use this clever condiment.
Pickled mustard seeds , what a great idea. This is a stunning dish Greg and my guy will eat peas, they are one of the few vegetables he likes.
What a beautiful dish, Greg! Like Mimi, I’m also curious about the mustard seeds — they sound fantastic.
Fascinating! I’ve never thought to pickle mustard seeds? Do they really pickle? Or is it more about the liquid they’re in when you top the fish with them.