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Pan-Seared Alaskan Halibut with Fresh Asparagus and Garlic and Chévre-Mashed Potatoes

This elegant but comforting Halibut recipe is the creation of Greg Higgins, co-owner of Higgins Restaurant in Portland, Oregon.

Greg is a board member of Chefs Collaborative, and to him, food is community: “We're interested in nourishing and sustaining not only our customer's appetites but also the land and the quality of life we all enjoy.”

Greg's widely acclaimed cooking focuses on Pacific Northwest ingredients, and he is an avid organic gardener who grows his own herbs, vegetables and fruits with an eye for heirloom varieties.

Pan-Seared Alaskan Halibut with Fresh Asparagus and Garlic and Chévre-Mashed Potatoes

Serves 4

2 pounds peeled yellow potatoes, 1/2 inch dice
3 tablespoons minced garlic
8 oz plain chévre* (goat cheese), crumbled
1/2 cup organic extra virgin olive oil (for sauce)
Sea salt and pepper to taste
2 pounds fresh asparagus
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup fish stock (or clam juice)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4 (6 oz each) Alaskan Halibut portions
2 tablespoons organic extra virgin olive oil (for halibut)

*You can substitute a farmer's (fresh) cheese or mild blue cheese if desired.

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Sauce instructions
  • Simmer diced potatoes in lightly salted water until tender (20‒30 minutes). Drain potatoes thoroughly and transfer to a mixing bowl. Mash potatoes with 2 tablespoons garlic, 6 ounces of chévre and the 1/4 cup of olive oil. Beat until smooth and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside, keeping it warm.

  • Cut asparagus spears 4 inches long from the tip, set aside. Cut the base portions into ¾-inch pieces and place in a small saucepan with the mustard, garlic and fish stock. Simmer over low heat until the asparagus is tender. Remove from the heat and transfer to a blender. Add the 1/4 cup olive oil and puree until smooth. Add a bit of the mashed potatoes to thicken slightly and puree again.

  • Strain the sauce through a sieve and adjust the seasoning with lemon juice, salt and pepper. The sauce should have the consistency of heavy cream. Set sauce aside in a warm place.

Halibut instructions
  • Season the Halibut with salt and pepper. Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat (do not allow it to smoke). Sear the Halibut, top side down, two pieces at a time until lightly browned (3‒5 minutes). Place the fish on an oiled baking pan, browned side up and repeat the process with the remaining portions.

  • Bake the fish to the desired doneness in the oven (6‒8 minutes). While the fish is cooking, plunge the asparagus tips briefly into boiling, lightly salted water, taking care not to cook them more than a minute.

  • To serve, place a scoop of the chévre potatoes in center of each plate and drizzle sauce around them. Arrange asparagus spears over sauce. Top the potatoes with a portion of cooked halibut and garnish the completed plates with a sprinkle of chévre crumbles.

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