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Crunchy Halibut with Mixed Herb Gremolata and Saffron Mashed Potatoes

When it comes to making dinner,  do you usually have a plan in place for the week ahead, with meals decided upon and shopping complete for the whole week?

Or…do you shop for a few days at a time, deciding as you go?

Or.. do you cook on the fly with no planning involved and wing it with whatever you have in the house?

I guess I kind of fall somewhere in the middle. I try and plan out a good part of the week, and shop a few days at a time for items I need. That way I have  the freedom to change my mind if I am craving something different than what is planned (which happens a lot), or for times like this occasion when I arrived at the market to find some beautiful fresh halibut looking out at me from behind the seafood case.

I really like the contrasting textures and flavors in this dish: crunchy/creamy/salty/sweet all rolled into one.  If you have never tried adding saffron to mashed potatoes, now is your chance. We are after all, in mashed potato season, right? I have also included a few tips for getting your mashed potatoes just right; just in time for Thanksgiving!

Panko Crused Halibut

4 (4 ounce) halibut fillets, skin removed

salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup milk

1 cup panko bread crumbs

2 tablespoons canola oil

Gremolata:

1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

2 tablespoon minced chives

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Season both sides of fish with  salt and pepper. Dredge both sides of fish in flour, then dip in milk , followed by panko crumbs.

Heat  oil to shimmering over medium-high heat in a large saute pan. Add halibut fillet and cook until panko browns lightly. Turn fillets over, reduce heat to medium and cook until fish is just becoming flaky, approximately 7 minutes.

For gremolata: Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl

Saffron Mashed Potatoes

1 1/3 pounds (4 medium)  Yukon Gold potatoes, washed, peeled, and cut into uniform 2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon
salt, divided
2 tablespoons warm butter

Pinch of saffron threads

1/2 to 2/3 cup hot milk, half &  half, or cream


In large saucepan, Add  potatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and just enough cold water until potatoes are covered; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium; cover and let simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.

While potatoes are cooking, either in another saucepan or microwave, heat butter.  Also heat hot milk or cream to a simmer (do not boil) separately from the butter in another saucepan or microwave. NOTE: Do not add cold butter or cold milk/cream to when making mashed potatoes.

When the potatoes are cooked, remove from heat and immediately drain potatoes thoroughly in a colander. Return to saucepan; heat over medium-low heat approximately 1 to 2 minutes to dry potatoes, stirring occasionally.

In the same saucepan that the potatoes have been heated in, mash potatoes with a potato masher, potato ricer,  or beat with electric hand mixer until chunky.  Stir in warm butter, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, saffron threads, and 1/2 cup of the hot milk.  Add additional milk, a little at a time, if necessary, for desired consistency

Season to taste with additional salt, if desired.

4 servings

A few mashed potato tips:
* Do not cut the potatoes into smaller chunks as too much water will be absorbed by the potatoes. After cutting the potatoes, immediately place in cold water to prevent discoloration of the potatoes.

*Gluey or gooey mashed potatoes are caused by vigorous over mashing, as anyone who has tried to make the side dish in a food processor can attest. When potatoes are boiled, their starch granules swell. If those granules are broken too vigorously, the cells release copious quantities of starch, resulting in a potatoes with the consistency of wallpaper paste.

* Boiled potatoes left in water will start to jellify and may even increase in volume, becoming swollen and watery. That is why it is important to let the potatoes drain for a couple of minutes in a colander immediately after they are cooked.

Brussels Sprouts with Prosciutto

3 lbs. fresh Brussels sprouts
5 slices of Prosciutto
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 small shallots, chopped finely
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons  Balsamic Vinegar

Trim stems and remove outer leaves from Brussels sprouts; wash, then cut larger sprouts in half. In a covered pot, boil Brussels sprouts with enough water to cover until tender. Approximately 8-10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet, cook prosciutto in hot oil over medium heat; once crispy, remove. Use same pan and oil to cook shallots, garlic and butter. Allow to soften, then add sprouts, salt and pepper.

Cook for approximately 8 minutes or until browned. Drizzle with Balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with prosciutto.

4 servings

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11 comments to Crunchy Halibut with Mixed Herb Gremolata and Saffron Mashed Potatoes

  • What a beautiful meal! The halibut looks perfectly crusted and golden. I’m going to try the saffron in our mashed potatoes…sounds so good, wish I had some right now. Thanks for the inspiration and tips!

  • Your dishes always entice. Love halibut and not a huge fish lover – and the gremolata – with the different herbs really appeals to my senses. Love the mashed potatoes advice -my culinary gurus (grandmother, aunts and mother) always said a few lumps make it taste better. The saffron is just exotic enough to elevate the potatoes.

  • Thank you for checking out my strudel post and for leaving your lovely comment :)

    Debbie – I have to say you plate a beautiful meal, each time! Everything is so perfectly balanced and complimentary, and you make even brussel sprouts look irresistable!

  • A very nice meal! I love the contrast in textures and flavors here! Saffron mashed potatoes is one of my all-time favorite side dishes to make, and it’s just a perfect comliment to the crunchy panko crusted halibut!

  • I love using panko to crust fish. I adore the combination of potatoes and saffron, the flavors complement each other well. I’ll have to try roasting brussels sprouts with prosciutto, this sounds like a great side dish.

  • Cooking from magazines makes it easy to plan ahead because the ingredient list is easy to bring together. Since I go over the magazines so often over the course of the month, when I see something on sale, if I’m going to need it down the line, I generally remember it.

    Of course, all those plans get a wrench thrown in them when I see recipes like this that look fantastic and I want to make. I love the panko covered halibut. Of course, anything with saffron is good too. Thanks for sharing!

  • Oh, D, this looks yummy. Too bad my family won’t eat fish. I definitely am not a planner, as I do that enough at work. I do go to the grocery store with no plan and come out with a few things which will last a few days. After I have it, then I plan what I’m going to do with it. This week I bought country style pork ribs and a chicken. I threw the pork ribs in the slow cooker with home made bbq sauce and that was dinner one night with roasted asparagus and rice. I high roasted the chicken for tonight and now the bones are in the crock pot to make stock. (Can you tell I’m experimenting with the slow cooker? :) ) I don’t know what the stock will be used for tomorrow, but I’m sure it will be something!

  • Ohhh, I love this meal, Debi!! I just found whole grain panko crumbs and have been looking for the perfect recipe to try them with. :-) I like to do my week’s worth of cooking on Sunday afternoons. I still do a bit now and then through the week, but it’s so nice to have all my lunches made ahead of time. :-)

  • Love the halibut recipe.

    Planning? What’s that? Oh yeah, it’s that thing that organized people do. Every time I try to ‘plan’ my menu for the week, something gets in the way and mucks it up. Thankfully I can get creative.

  • Halibut and tilapia are my 2 favorite fishes. Have you ever made a recipe with honey mustard and panko crumbs or a mustard/mayo mix and panko crumbs. It really compliments the fish really well.

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