Kimchee "Choucroute" With Seared Dijon Halibut
Most cooks know that choucroute garni is an Alsatian dish consisting of braised, tart cabbage (like our sauerkraut) garnished with meats including sliced pork and sausage. Served with sharp mustard, it's a hearty feast, though a bit heavy for today's tastes. An attempt to lighten the dish, and my love of all things hot-hot, led me to devise this tart-spicy seafood version, which everyone loves.
As elsewhere, the addition of the cucumber kimchee adds a spicy Eastern note; and this time, mustard is used to coat the fillets before they're seared for cooked-in flavor.
1/4 cup grapeseed or canola oil
2 large heads of cabbage, cored, halved, and cut into 1/4-inch ribbons
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 cups Cucumber Kimchee , plus additional, with 1 1/2 cups of its liquid
1 bottle dry white wine
1 bay leaf
4 halibut fillets, 6 to 7 ounces each
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- Heat a large sauté pan or deep heat-proof casserole over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the cabbage, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until soft but not colored, 5 to 8 minutes.
- Add the kimchee liquid and the wine and reduce the mixture by three quarters, 20 to 30 minutes. Add the 3 cups of kimchee and the bay leaf and simmer until the cabbage has almost melted, 30 to 40 minutes.
- About 20 minutes before you are ready to serve, heat the oven to 425°F. Season the halibut with salt and pepper. Heat a large ovenproof sauté pan, preferably nonstick, over high heat until hot. Add the remaining two tablespoons of oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the fish and sear until brown, about 4 minutes. Turn the fillets, rub the mustard on the cooked sides, and transfer the pan to the oven. Bake until the fish is cooked through and flaky, 4 to 6 minutes. Divide the "choucroute" among 4 pasta bowls, discarding the bay leaf. Place the fillets on it, garnish with the additional kimchee, and serve.
WineGrape type: Sauvignon Blanc
Characteristics: Lime citrus integrated, vanilla, toasted cream
Recommendations: Artesa, Napa Valley, California or Matanzas Creek, Sonoma Valley, California