Pan-Seared Halibut with Melted Cherry Tomatoes
4 (4 to 6 ounce) halibut fillets
½ teaspoon finely ground unrefined sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon clarified butter (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup chopped fresh tarragon
1 pound unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
To make the butter, place the butter in a wide sauté pan set over low heat. Allow the butter to melt slowly. As it heats, froth and foam will gather on top of the liquid butter. Skim this off and discard it. Continue heating the butter until it becomes perfectly clear, about 10 minutes. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl and line it with a double layer of cheesecloth or a single layer of butter muslin. Pour the melted butter through the cloth and into the bowl. Discard the milk solids in the cloth, then pour the clarified butter into three 4-ounce jars or one 12-ounce jar and cover tightly.
To prepare the halibut, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and fresh thyme. Set it on a plate and let it rest a bit while you melt the butter in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Once the butter melts, arrange the seasoned halibut skin side-down in the hot fat, and sear for four to five minutes, until the skin crisps and browns. Flip the fish, and continue cooking for another two to three minutes, until it flakes easily when pierced by a fork. Transfer the halibut to a serving plate, and tent it with parchment paper or foil to keep it warm.
To prepare the tomatoes, set the skillet over medium heat and pour the olive oil into the pan that you used to cook the fish. Toss in the shallot and garlic, and sauté them in the oil, stirring frequently, until they release their fragrance and become translucent, about six minutes. Toss in the cherry tomatoes, and sauté them with the garlic and shallot until they release their juice and soften in the hot pan, about two minutes. Stir in the tarragon and continue cooking, stirring frequently, for one minute. Uncover the waiting halibut. Spoon the melted cherry tomato mixture over the fish, and serve immediately. Source + image: The Nourished Kitchen by Jennifer McGruther