Nopi's Pistachio and Pine-Nut-Crusted Halibut
By Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully
We love these sorts of dishes, which are somewhere between a hearty fish soup and a fish dish with sauce. Whichever way you look at them, they're a meal in themselves, to be served with little more than some crusty white bread to mop up the juices.
The vichyssoise can be a stand-alone soup here, if you like. (We pass all soups that we want completely smooth through a fine-mesh seive at NOPI, but if you're not too fussed by a little bit of texture, you can let the restaurant standards slip with this detail. Scully also plunges his container of vichyssoise straight into a big bowl of ice-cold water. Halting the cooking in this way helps preserve the vibrant green color. Your guests will probably forgive you if you bypass this stage.)
The soup and nut crust can be made up to a day ahead of time if you like, and left in the fridge.
6 halibut fillets, skinless and boneless (1 lb 14 oz/950g)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
12 breakfast radishes, green leaves, and roots left on and sliced in half lengthwise (or 8 round red radishes)
Coarse sea salt and black pepper
For the wild arugula and parsley vichyssoise:
3 1/2 oz/100g parsley stems and leaves
5 1/4 oz/150g wild arugula
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp/40g unsalted butter
2 medium shallots, coarsely chopped (31/2 oz/100g)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium leek, green and white parts finely sliced (7 oz/200g)
2 large all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into roughly 3/4-inch/2-cm pieces (13 oz/370 g)
4 1/2 cups/1 liter chicken stock
1 oz/25g spinach leaves
For the pistachio and pine nut crust:
10 tbsp/150g unsalted butter,cut into 1/3-inch/1-cm dice
2 oz/60g shelled pistachios, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
2 oz/60g pine nuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp superfine sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
Place the butter for the nut crust in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook for 4 minutes, until the butter is nutty smelling and golden brown. Remove from the heat, and strain the butter through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any black bits. Add the pistachios, pine nuts, sugar, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Mix well, then spread out in a small parchment-lined bakin sheet, about 6 inches/16 cm wide and 8 inches/21 cm long. Chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours, until the butter has set firmly, then cut the mixture into six equal rectangles. Return the rectangles to the fridge until ready to use.
To make the vichyssoise, bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil and add the parsley and arugula leaves. Blanch for 30 seconds, then refresh under cold water. Strain, squeeze out the excess water, set aside to dry, then coarsely chop.
Place the oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring once or twice, until soft but not colored. Add the garlic and leek and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently until shiny and glossy. Pour over the chicken stock and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, until cooked but still retaining a bite.
Add the blanched parsley and arugula and cook for a final minute, then remove from the heat and add spinach, along with 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Transfer to a blender, blitz well until completely smooth, and set aside until ready to use.
Preheat the broiler to 400-degrees/200-degrees Celsius, or its highest setting. Spread the halibut fillets out on a large parchment-lined baking pan and brush them with the 2 tablespoons of oil. Season with 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt in total and a good grind of black pepper and grill for 6 to 7 minutes, until the halibut is almost cooked.
Remove the baking pan from under the broiler and lay a rectangle of but butter on top of each fillet. Return to the broiler and cook for a final 2 to 3 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and squeeze over the lemon juice.
Warm the vichyssoise and spoon it into shallow wide bowls. Lay a hallibut fillet on top, place the radish pieces alongside, and serve at once.