While we were in DC celebrating my Dad’s, Joseph’s and my birthdays, my mom wanted to cook a meal together (well, my dad’s very helpful participation was on the cleaning up side of things). Joseph found a striped bass recipe on epicurious.com that looked pretty good. My mom had some beautiful halibut already, so we trooped off to the new Whole Foods in their neighborhood for the rest of the ingredients. And what a Whole Foods it was! For the most part, it was just a nice grocery store and not really that different from the one we go to in Cambridge. But in the center of the store lays a total trap for suckers like me: salt, honey, and olive oil bars. I got small samples of a merlot salt and another, very fine, powdery salt (I forgot the name!) that we got to use as a finishing salt for the halibut, but totally forgot all about. Oops. Anyway, the bags were so small that when they tried to weigh them at the checkout, the weight didn’t register so we got them for free. Score!
I really wish we had a salt bar at our Whole Foods because I keep looking at this $20 bottle of Himalayan pink salt that comes with its own little salt grater and oh, I want it so much. Like I said, I’m a total sucker for that kind of thing and I would be much better off with a little .5 oz bag of it than a whole jar just because I want the salt grater! Why would I need a salt grinder? For the Himalayan pink salt! When would I use it? I don’t know!
Why am I talking so much about salt and not the recipe at hand? Maybe because I only helped out a bit with the prep and spent the rest of the time trying to take halfway decent photos in a darkish kitchen without my hot shoe flash. What I can tell you is that oh my goodness, this is one tasty dish. I love anything with panko. I just think it’s great. I mean, I think bread crumbs can do some pretty great stuff (hello mac and cheese!) but somehow the Japanese managed to make bread crumbs magical. It adds great crunch, but at the same time it’s almost airy, so it doesn’t weigh food down. The halibut Joseph made (with my mom and me as sous chefs) was luscious and earthy with a fantastic gingery crunch on top. The miso broth with edamame, shitake, and soba rounded out this spectacular dinner.
For dessert, scrumptious cupcakes from Frosting.
Ginger-Miso Halibut in Shiitake and Edamame Broth with Soba Noodles
Adapted from Epicurious
4 cups water
1/2 cup red miso (aka-miso), divided
8 large shiitake mushrooms (about 4 ounces), stemmed, thinly sliced
2 cups frozen edamame
6 green onions, dark and pale green part thinly sliced, white part minced
package of soba noodles
8 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
4 6-ounce skinless halibut fillets
1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
Whisk 4 cups water and 4 tablespoons red miso in medium saucepan. Add shiitake mushrooms and edamame and simmer over medium heat until the mushrooms are soft and the edamame are heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in dark and pale green onion tops. Cover to keep the broth warm and set aside.
Meanwhile, cook the soba according to the package directions.
Mix 4 tablespoons red miso, the minced white part of green onion, 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, and minced fresh ginger in a small bowl. Sprinkle the halibut with salt and pepper. Spread the ginger mixture over 1 side of the fillets, pressing down to adhere. Sprinkle panko over the coated side of fillet and press to help it stick.
Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fillets to the skillet, with the panko-coated side down, and sauté until brown and crisp, about 3 minutes. Turn fillets over and sauté until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Divide shiitake mushroom broth, shiitake mushrooms, and edamame between 2 shallow bowls. Heap a pile of soba in the middle of the broth and place a fish fillet in the center of each bowl. Sprinkle green onions over the top and serve.