Sometimes you dress up food a little, sometimes you dress it up a lot. Great cuts of meat and fish don’t really need so much help, which is why we chose a simple sauce for this wonderful piece of halibut. We got one large filet and skinned and cut it into steaks ourselves.
The intent was to provide a little sweetness from the onions and a little acidity from the wine (I used a Tuscan Sangiovese which I was going to serve with pasta the following night) to set off the rich quality of the halibut.
4 Halibut steaks, about 7 oz each
One large onion, sliced (about 2 cups)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/3 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
We started by sautéing the onion and garlic in oil, stirring over moderately low heat until onions were golden and translucent. We added the wine, water, sugar, salt, and pepper and simmered the sauce for 2 minutes. While that was going on, we preheated the oven to 450F.
We arranged the steaks in a single layer in a baking dish and then salted and peppered them, then simply poured the sauce on top. We roasted them in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the fish was just cooked through. I know I don’t always get the fish perfectly done, but I think I’d always err on the side of slightly underdone than over.
Since we had a red wine sauce, I had no problem serving red wine with the fish. Obviously a tannic monster wouldn’t do, so we poured a 2000 Cos d’Estournel, an elegant Bordeaux.
While the cut of fish was so good that we could have just melted some butter on it and been done, I was happy the way this turned out, getting the exact results out of it we wanted—a simple and elegant centerpiece for a special meal.