Halibut with Bread Crumbs and Smoke-Roasted Tomato Sauce Recipe
Halibut with Bread Crumbs and Smoke-Roasted Tomato Sauce

By Jill Wendholt Silva

New cookbooks offer hot ingredients, cool techniques

After an unseasonably cool spring, the summer grilling season is shaping up to be another scorcher.

It's not surprising that Good Housekeeping and Weber continue to offer solid advice and dependable recipes to satisfy America's ever-expanding appetite for quick and healthy meals.

But these days the hottest ethnic ingredients, such as chimichurri and wasabi, are expanding our palates, while sizzling techniques ranging from indoor pan-searing to stovetop smoking to outdoor Latin-style grilling to Japanese yakitori, provide just the ticket for adventurous cooks in search of the next sweltering heat wave.

Simple Smoking: Over 80 Recipes for the Home-Smoking Enthusiast by Paul Kirk

The lazy days of summer are the perfect time to learn how to control heat.

Barbecue authority Paul Kirk insists smoke-cooking is not as complicated as it sounds, then offers up a chapter on stovetop smoking. The advantage to smoking indoors? For fish and other delicate pieces of meat, the method imparts a light smoke flavor in a short time.

The method involves sprinkling sawdust in the bottom of a Dutch oven, heating the sawdust over high until it begins to smolder then placing the food on a rack, covering with a lid and continuing to cook over medium heat.

The recipes are purely for smoke flavoring, rather than preserving. One of the most useful features of the book is a cooking-wood chart specifying the type of wood, its flavor characteristics and the type of meat best suited for the wood. Kirk recommends starting with a wood that is indigenous to your area.

Halibut With Bread Crumbs And Smoke-Roasted Tomato Sauce

Makes 4 servings

1 cup fresh white bread crumbs

2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves, minced

1/4 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound plum tomatoes, halved and seeded

1 head garlic

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons cane sugar

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup water (optional)

1/4 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

4 (6- to 8-ounce) fresh halibut fillets

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves

In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs and tarragon and blend well. Cover and set aside.

Place the olive oil in a large bowl. Add the tomatoes and garlic, tossing to coat evenly. Place the tomatoes and garlic on the rack of a smoke pan. Add 1/4 cup hickory sawdust or chips and heat over high heat until the chips start to smoke, about 3 minutes. Cover, reduce the heat, and smoke for 20 to 30 minutes or until the tomatoes are lightly browned and the garlic is tender when pierced with a knife. (The garlic may take a little longer, 10 to 15 minutes.) Peel the garlic and place in a blender fitted with a steel blade, add the tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper and puree until smooth. Add some water if the sauce seems too thick. Place in a saucepan and warm. Set aside and keep warm.

Combine the mayonnaise and mustard in a small bowl. Season the fillets and pat the seasoned bread crumbs evenly on top. Place in your smoker pan and smoke with wood chips of your choice for 10 to 15 minutes or until the fish flakes easily. Serve with fresh tarragon and Smoke-Roasted Tomato Sauce.

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Recipes: "Halibut with Bread Crumbs and Smoke-Roasted Tomato Sauce"

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