08.10.09

Fruit tart

Posted in baking, dessert, food, home cooking at 12:56 am by wingerz

fruittart

I haven’t even eaten this yet, but I don’t have to. It looks amazing. Random thoughts:

* I may have let the cream cook for a few seconds too long. Hopefully it’s ok.
* Forming the tart crust is a bit easier than doing a pie, since you can patch up mistakes pretty easily.
* One small package of pie weights is not nearly enough; I’ll have to pick up a few more.
* This is a multi-step recipe with lots of downtime so plan accordingly. No part of it is particularly difficult.
* I didn’t glaze it.

Hopefully it’ll taste good too.

Fresh fruit tart
from ATK Family Baking

Pastry Cream
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup granulated sugar
pinch table salt
5 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold), cut into 4 pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Tart Pastry (Pâte Sucrée)
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (6 1/4 ounces)
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar (about 3 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), very cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Fruit and Glaze
fruit , unwashed
1/2 cup red currant jelly or apple jelly

1. For the Pastry Cream: Heat half-and-half, 6 tablespoons sugar, and salt in medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar.
2. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks in medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and whisk until sugar has begun to dissolve and mixture is creamy, about 15 seconds. Whisk in cornstarch until combined and mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.
3. When half-and-half mixture reaches full simmer, gradually whisk simmering half-and-half into yolk mixture to temper. Return mixture to saucepan, scraping bowl with rubber spatula; return to simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until 3 or 4 bubbles burst on surface and mixture is thickened and glossy, about 30 seconds. Off heat, whisk in butter and vanilla. Transfer mixture to medium bowl, press plastic wrap directly on surface, and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours or up to 48 hours.
4. For the Tart Pastry: While pastry cream is chilling, whisk together yolk, cream, and vanilla in small bowl; set aside. Pulse to combine flour, sugar, and salt in bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture; pulse to cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal, about fifteen 1-second pulses. With machine running, add egg mixture and process until dough just comes together, about 25 seconds. Turn dough onto sheet of plastic wrap and press into 6-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 48 hours.
5. Remove dough from refrigerator (if refrigerated longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable). Unwrap and roll out between lightly floured large sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap to 13-inch round. (If dough is soft and sticky, slip onto baking sheet and refrigerate until workable, 20 to 30 minutes.) Transfer dough to tart pan by rolling dough loosely around rolling pin and unrolling over 9- to 9 1/2-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Working around circumference of pan, ease dough into pan corners by gently lifting dough with one hand while pressing dough into corners with other hand. Press dough into fluted sides of pan. (If some edges are too thin, reinforce sides by folding excess dough back on itself.) Run rolling pin over top of tart pan to remove excess dough. Set dough-lined tart pan on large plate and freeze 30 minutes (can be sealed in gallon-sized zipper-lock plastic bag and frozen up to 1 month).
6. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Set dough-lined tart pan on baking sheet, press 12-inch square of foil inside frozen tart shell and over edges and fill with metal or ceramic pie weights. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time. Remove from oven and carefully remove foil and weights by gathering edges of foil and pulling up and out. Continue to bake until deep golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes longer. Set baking sheet with tart shell on wire rack to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
7. To Assemble and Glaze the Tart: When tart shell is completely cool, spread cold pastry cream over bottom, using offset spatula or large spoon. (Can press plastic wrap directly on surface of pastry cream and refrigerate up to 30 minutes.) Arrange fruit on top of pastry cream
8. Bring jelly to boil in small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to smooth out lumps. When boiling and completely melted, apply by dabbing and flicking onto fruit with pastry brush; add 1 teaspoon water and return jelly to boil if it becomes too thick to drizzle. (Tart can be refrigerated, uncovered, up to 30 minutes.) Remove outer metal ring of tart pan, slide thin metal spatula between bottom of crust and tart pan bottom to release, then slip tart onto cardboard round or serving platter; serve.

08.08.09

Freeform Fruit Tart

Posted in baking, dessert, food, home cooking at 12:44 am by wingerz

freeformtart

The summer of peach desserts continues. I made this one twice. The first one was all-around disastrous. I had to roll out the pastry dough twice because the first time I wasn’t able to form it without breaking it. After it came out of the oven, it slipped off the cooling rack and right onto my kitchen table. It was still tasty, but I had much better luck with the second one.

This tart looks pretty impressive and doesn’t require a tart tin. I made mine with peaches (unpeeled) and blackberries.

Freeform Fruit Tart
from Cook’s Illustrated

Dough
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (7 1/2 ounces), plus additional for work surface
1/2 teaspoon table salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks), cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 – 6 tablespoons water (ice cold)

Fruit Filling
1 pound peaches , nectarines, apricots, or plums
1 cup berries (about 1/2 dry pint)
3-5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar for sprinkling

1. Note: The amount of water that the dough will require depends on the ambient humidity; in a dry environment, it may need more water, in a humid environment, less. The dough can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight or tightly wrapped in two sheets of plastic wrap and frozen for up to one week. If at any point the dough becomes soft, sticky, and dificult to work with during rolling, chill it until it becomes workable.
2. For the dough: In food processor, pulse flour and salt to combine, about three 1-second pulses. Scatter butter pieces over flour, then pulse until texture resembles coarse bread crumbs and butter pieces about the size of small peas remain, ten to twelve 1-second pulses. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon water over mixture and process 1 second; repeat until dough begins to form small curds and holds together when pinched with fingers. Empty dough onto work surface; dough will be crumbly (if dough has large dry areas, sprinkle additional 2 teaspoons water over dry areas and incorporate by gently fluffing entire amount of dough with fingers). Using bench scraper, gather dough into rough mound about 12 inches long and 4 inches wide (mound should be perpendicular to edge of counter). Beginning from farthest end, use heel of a hand to smear about one sixth of dough against work surface away from you. Repeat until all dough has been worked. Using bench scraper, gather dough again and repeat. Dough should now be cohesive. Form dough into 4-inch disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until cold and firm but malleable, about 1 hour.
3. For the filling: During last 30 minutes of chilling, prepare fruit. Halve and pit stone fruit and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Gently wash and dry berries. Combine fruit in medium bowl (you should have about 3 cups); set aside. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.
4. To assemble and bake: (If dough has chilled longer than 1 hour and is cold and hard, let stand at room temperature 15 to 20 minutes before proceeding.) On large sheet of parchment paper lightly dusted with flour, roll dough to 12-inch round about 3/16 inch thick, dusting with flour as needed. (If dough sticks to parchment, gently loosen and lift sticky area with bench scraper and dust parchment with additional flour.) Slide parchment and dough onto baking sheet and refrigerate until cool and firm yet pliant, 15 to 30 minutes (if refrigerated longer and dough is hard and brittle, let stand at room temperature until pliant).
5. Sprinkle fruit with sugar and toss gently to combine. Remove baking sheet with dough from refrigerator. Mound fruit in center of dough, leaving 2 1/2-inch border around edge. Carefully grasp one edge of dough and fold up outer 2 inches over fruit, leaving 1/2-inch area of dough just inside of fold free of fruit. Repeat around circumference of tart, overlapping dough every 2 to 3 inches; gently pinch pleated dough to secure, but do not press dough into fruit. Working quickly, brush dough with water and sprinkle evenly with 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake until crust is deep golden brown and fruit is bubbling, 50 to 55 minutes. Cool tart on baking sheet on wire rack 10 minutes. Using offset or wide metal spatula, loosen tart from parchment and carefully slide tart off parchment onto wire rack; cool until warm, about 30 minutes, or to room temperature, about 1 hour. Cut into wedges and serve.

08.03.09

Peach-blueberry crisp

Posted in baking, dessert, food, home cooking at 2:17 am by wingerz

peachcrisp

My exploration of peach-based desserts continues. This one’s really easy and tasty. As with most of my desserts, I cut the amount of sugar. I also added some blackberries to the mix because they’re so good right now.

I’ve made this one twice. I brought the second one to our friends’ barbecue, where it was called a pie (despite not having a bottom crust) and a cobbler (despite not having a biscuit-y topping). Anyway, the entire thing was consumed and complimented, which is the important part.

I’m pretty excited because my 9″ tart tin should be arriving this week!

Peach-Blueberry Crisp
from Cook’s Illustrated

6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar , packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon table salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
3/4 cups pecans or whole almonds, chopped coarse (or chopped fine if mixing topping by hand)

5 cups peaches , (peaches have been peeled, pitted, and cut into half-inch wedges), about 5 medium peaches
1 cup fresh blueberries , rinsed
1 tablespoon quick-cooking tapioca
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest from 1 lemon

1. For the Topping: Place flour, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in food processor workbowl fitted with steel blade. Add chilled butter and pulse until mixture moves from dry sand-like appearance with large lumps of butter to a coarse cornmeal texture, about three 4-second bursts. Add nuts and pulse until mixture resembles crumbly sand, about five 1-second bursts. Do not overprocess or mixture will take on a smooth, cookie-dough-like texture. (To mix by hand, allow butter pieces to sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mix flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in medium bowl. Add butter; toss to coat. Pinch butter chunks and dry mixture between fingertips until mixture looks like crumbly wet sand. Add nuts and toss to distribute evenly. Do not overmix.) Refrigerate mixture while preparing fruit, at least 15 minutes.
2. Toss peaches, blueberries, tapioca, sugar, lemon juice, and zest in medium bowl.
3. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Scrape fruit mixture with rubber spatula into 8-inch square (2 quart) baking pan or 9-inch round deep dish pie plate. Distribute chilled topping evenly over fruit; bake for 40 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees; bake until fruit is bubbling and topping is deep golden brown, about 5 minutes longer. Serve warm or at room temperature.

07.16.09

Life-changing strawberry ice cream

Posted in dessert, food, home cooking at 3:04 am by wingerz

strawberryicecream

I saw this recipe for ice cream on my sister’s blog a while back. She said that the strawberry was life-changing and that it occupied the top 10 slots of her list of 16 favorite ice creams to make.

It certainly is delicious, and I was able to grab a more appetizing picture of it. Pretty much followed the recipe, which is from the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream book. The cream is very creamy – two raw eggs will do that for you (do yourself a favor and use safe eggs). I think that I’ll try for smaller strawberry chunks next time since the big pieces are a bit icy.

07.13.09

Scones

Posted in baking, food, home cooking at 1:53 am by wingerz

scones

Apparently these are quite good, according to two of my favorite food critics. I haven’t had one yet, but I will in a second. These were surprisingly easy (with the help of a good food processor), so I’ll definitely be making them again. I substituted some dried cherries from Trader Joe’s in place of the currants. We’ve got some fresh apricot jam and strawberry jam to spread over them. I love summer.

Cream Scones
from ATK Family Baking

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter , chilled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup currants
1 cup heavy cream

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Place flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in large bowl or workbowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Whisk together or pulse six times.
3. If making by hand, use two knives, a pastry blender, or your fingertips and quickly cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few slightly larger butter lumps. Stir in currants. If using food processor, remove cover and distribute butter evenly over dry ingredients. Cover and pulse 12 times, each pulse lasting 1 second. Add currants and pulse one more time. Transfer dough to large bowl.
4. Stir in heavy cream with rubber spatula or fork until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.
5. Transfer dough and all dry, floury bits to countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, slightly sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. Press the dough into a 9″ cake pan, then flip it out of the pan back onto the work surface. Divide the dough into 8 wedges. Place wedges on ungreased baking sheet. (Baking sheet can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 hours.)
6. Bake until scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

06.22.09

Peach Shortcake

Posted in dessert, food, home cooking at 2:03 am by wingerz

peach_shortcake

It’s impossible to resist summer peaches. They smell incredible and are impossibly juicy – Amy and I both agreed that the only real way to enjoy one is gobbling it up over the sink.

The recipe recommends firm peaches. Don’t even attempt this recipe if you have soft peaches because they will destroy you twice – once when you’re trying to peel the peaches (I didn’t feel like blanching them because it’s summer and I didn’t want to boil a ton of water and prep an ice bath), and again when you try to remove the seed and slice them.

I mixed two white peaches in with the yellow, and threw a few blueberries on top. I also only used 3/4 of the amount of sugar recommended since my peaches were fantastic.

Peach Shortcake
from Cook’s Illustrated

Fruit
2 pounds ripe but firm peaches (4 to 5 medium), peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons peach schnapps

Biscuits
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup buttermilk , cold
1 large egg
8 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly

Whipped Cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. For The Fruit: Gently toss three-quarters of peaches with 4 tablespoons sugar in large bowl. Let stand 30 minutes. Toss remaining peaches with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and schnapps in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high power until peaches are bubbling, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, stirring twice during cooking. Using potato masher, crush peaches into coarse pulp. Let stand 30 minutes.
2. For The Biscuits: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. While peaches macerate, whisk flour, baking powder, 1 tablespoon sugar, and salt in large bowl. Whisk together buttermilk and egg in medium bowl; add melted butter and stir until butter forms small clumps.
3. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir with wooden spoon until dough comes together and no dry flour remains. Continue stirring vigorously for 30 seconds. Using greased 1/3 cup dry measure, scoop up mound of dough and drop onto parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet (if dough sticks to cup, use small spoon to pull it free). Repeat with remaining dough, spacing biscuits about 1 1/2 inches apart, to create 6 biscuits. Sprinkle remaining tablespoon sugar evenly over top of biscuits. Bake until tops are golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool 15 minutes before assembling.
4. For The Whipped Cream: Using hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat cream, sugar, and vanilla on low speed until bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium; continue beating until beaters leave trail, about 30 seconds longer. Increase speed to high; continue beating until nearly doubled in volume and whipped cream forms soft peaks, 30 to 45 seconds longer.
5. To Assemble: Split each biscuit in half and place bottoms on individual serving plates. Spoon portion of crushed peach mixture over each bottom, followed by peach slices and any exuded juices. Top peaches with 2 tablespoons whipped cream, cap with biscuit top, and dollop each shortcake with some of remaining whipped cream. Serve immediately.

06.01.09

Berry Fool

Posted in dessert, food, home cooking at 12:55 am by wingerz

berryfool

It’s impossible to wander through the farmer’s market and not be tempted by the beautiful red berries. I was thinking of making this last week but didn’t have enough berries to do it. Got around to it this evening. This recipe is a bit labor-intensive, but I’d almost certainly make it again because it was delicious. It packs a powerful berry punch and has a nice texture. We may need to invest in some cute glasses to serve it in.

Note that the berry-jello needs to be left in the refrigerator for a while to set. The recipe says 2 hours but I got it down to less than 1 by putting two of those (soap-bar-sized) frozen blue-ice things each into its own zip lock bag and then putting the bags into the mixture before refrigerating.

Berry Fool
from Cook’s Illustrated

2 quarts strawberries (about 2 pounds), washed, dried, and stemmed
1 pint raspberries (about 12 ounces), washed and dried (see note)
1/2 cup plus 4 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 Carr’s Whole Wheat Crackers , finely crushed (about 1/4 cup) (or graham crackers)
6 sprigs fresh mint leaves (optional)

1. Process 1 quart strawberries, 1/2 pint raspberries, and 1/2 cup sugar in food processor until mixture is completely smooth, about 1 minute. Strain berry puree through fine-mesh strainer into 4-cup liquid measuring cup (you should have 2 1/2 cups puree; reserve any excess for another use). Transfer 1/2 cup puree to small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over top; stir until gelatin is incorporated and let stand at least 5 minutes. Heat remaining 2 cups puree in small saucepan over medium heat until it begins to bubble, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in gelatin mixture until dissolved. Transfer gelatin-puree mixture to medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.
2. Meanwhile, chop remaining 1 quart strawberries into rough 1/4-inch pieces. Toss strawberries, remaining 1/2 pint raspberries, and 2 tablespoons sugar together in medium bowl. Set aside for 1 hour.
3. Place cream, sour cream, vanilla, and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in chilled bowl of stand mixer. Beat on low speed until bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and continue beating until beaters leave trail, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high; continue beating until mixture has nearly doubled in volume and holds stiff peaks, about 30 seconds. Transfer 1/3 cup whipped-cream mixture to small bowl and set aside.
4. Remove thickened berry puree from refrigerator and whisk until smooth. With mixer running at medium speed, slowly add two-thirds of puree to whipped-cream mixture; mix until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Using spatula, gently fold in remaining thickened puree, leaving streaks of puree.
5. Transfer uncooked berries to fine-mesh strainer; shake gently to remove any excess juice. Divide two-thirds of berries evenly among 6 tall parfait or sundae glasses. Divide creamy berry mixture evenly among glasses, followed by remaining uncooked berries. Top each glass with reserved plain whipped-cream mixture. Sprinkle with crushed crackers and garnish with mint sprigs, if using. Serve immediately.

05.25.09

Fish Tacos

Posted in fish, food, home cooking at 12:10 pm by wingerz

fishtaco

Another tasty fish and salsa combination. The beer-battered fish is good enough to serve on its own. I substituted fresh tomato salsa for the diced tomatoes and sour cream for the chipotle mayonnaise.

Fish Tacos
from Cook’s Illustrated

4 – 5 cups vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup light-colored beer
2 pounds skinless cod , cut into 4- by 1-inch strips
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas or flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups recipe Chipotle Mayonnaise
3 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
1 1/2 cups diced tomato
Lime wedges (for serving)

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Pour the oil into a large Dutch oven until it measures 1 inch deep. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 375 degrees.
2. Meanwhile, whisk the flour, salt, cumin, black pepper, and cayenne together in a large bowl. When the oil is almost ready, whisk the beer into the flour mixture until completely smooth.
3. Wrap a stack of corn or flour tortillas in foil and warm on a baking sheet in the 200-degree oven while frying the fish.
4. Pat the fish dry with paper towels. Add half the fish to the batter and stir gently to coat. Following the photo, use tongs to lift the pieces of fish from the batter, one at a time, allowing any batter to drip back into the bowl, and add to the hot oil.
5. Fry, stirring the fish gently to prevent the pieces from sticking together, until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
6. Remove the fried fish from the oil and let drain briefly on paper towels. Transfer the drained fish to a wire rack set over a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Return the oil to 375 degrees and batter and fry the remaining fish. Smear each of the warm tortillas with 2 tablespoons Chipotle Mayonnaise, then sprinkle with 1/4 cup lettuce and 2 tablespoons tomatoes. Add 1 piece of the fried fish to each tortilla and fold the tortilla over the fish. Serve with lime wedges.

05.10.09

Seared Tuna with Peach Salsa

Posted in fish, food, home cooking at 10:52 pm by wingerz

tuna

Sometimes you just let the ingredients at the market determine what’s for dinner. Everything but the olive oil and kosher salt were from this morning’s visit to the farmer’s market. In general I’m not a huge fan of tuna but I was pretty happy with the way this turned out – the salsa is great, especially when made with good ingredients.

Seared Tuna with Peach Salsa
2 tuna steaks, about 1/2 lb each
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
kosher salt
1 tbsp oil

Peach Salsa
2 small peaches, diced
2 small tomatoes, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice

1. Place the tuna in a ziplock bag with olive oil and 2tbsp lemon juice. Let it marinate for 1-2 hours. Right before cooking, take it out and sprinkle some kosher salt on both sides of the steaks.
2. Mix all of the salsa ingredients in a small bowl. Add more lemon juice/salt/pepper to taste.
3. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet at high heat. Add 1 tbsp of oil to the skillet and wait until it smokes.
4. Place the tuna in the skillet. Flip it over in 1-3 minutes, depending on how much you want it to be cooked. I usually look at it from the side and flip when it looks like it’s cooked 1/4 to 1/3 of the way through. After flipping, let it cook for another 1-2 minutes.

04.20.09

Pan-roasted halibut

Posted in fish, food, home cooking at 1:14 am by wingerz

halibut

Between my traveling and some rainy Sundays it’s been a few weeks since I got fresh fish from the farmer’s market. Today I snagged a 1lb piece of halibut. Pan-roasted it and served it with a concoction of olive oil, butter, shallots, garlic, pine nuts, lemon juice, salt, pepper, basil, and parsley (sort of like this).

As with all fish, keep a close eye on it. There’s a very fine line between perfection and very slightly overdone. Mine was perfect, Jen’s was very slightly overdone. She should have said something before I gobbled up my piece.

Pan-Roasted Halibut Steaks
from America’s Test Kitchen

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 halibut steaks , each about 1 1/4 inches thick and 10 to 12 inches long (about 2 1/2 pounds total), gently rinsed, dried well with paper towels, and trimmed of cartilage at both ends
Table salt and ground black pepper

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. When oven reaches 425 degrees, heat oil in 12-inch, heavy-bottomed, ovenproof skillet over high heat until oil just begins to smoke, about 2 1/2 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, sprinkle both sides of both halibut steaks generously with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-high, swirl oil in pan to distribute; carefully lay steaks in pan and sear, without moving them, until spotty brown, about 4 minutes (if steak is thinner than 1 1/4 inches, check browning at 3 1/2 minutes; thicker steaks of 1 1/2 inches may require extra time, so check at 4 1/2 minutes). Off heat, flip steaks over in pan using two thin-bladed metal spatulas.
3. Transfer skillet to oven and roast until instant-read thermometer inserted into steaks reads 140 degrees, flakes loosen, and flesh is opaque when checked with tip of paring knife, about 9 minutes (thicker steaks may take up to 10 minutes). Remove skillet from oven and separate skin and bones from fish with spatula. Transfer fish to warm platter and serve immediately, with flavored butter or sauce (see related recipes), if desired.

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