Saturday, August 21, 2010

Caponata con Pan-Roasted Pacific Halibut

Welcome to 10 Year Anniversary Saturday

Ten years together with the The Lawyer.  Amazing.  I can clearly remember the day we met.  Mind blowing how time just flies.  I would like to thank my life partner, the smartest person I know, her choice of mate notwithstanding.  Thank you for choosing me to share your time with.  Being with you is everything I need from this life.

Usually I would make a fancy multi-course meal to celebrate such an occasion, however, LC's kitchen will be closed tonight.  We are hitting the town.

I wouldn't dream of leaving my dedicated readers without a dish today, so...Enjoy!

Caponata is a Sicilian antipasti composed of eggplant and other vegetables deep fried and mixed with nuts.  Marinated in a sweet and sour sauce, it really is a fantastic dish.  Here I use it to accentuate a pan roasted Pacific halibut fillet.  U.S. or Canadian wild caught Pacific Halibut is a wonderful sustainable fish.

Here are some magnificent websites to educated yourself on sustainable seafood...

Monterey Bay Aquarium
Sea Web

The cooking of the caponata can be a time consuming endeavor but well worth the trouble.  Traditionally in Sicily, dark chocolate is grated into the dish, do not skip this step, it takes the flavor profile to a whole new divison. The Caponata is meant to be served at room temperature.

Caponata con Pan-Roasted Pacific Halibut

1 large eggplant
peanut oil

1 red onion - small dice
2 celery stalk - small dice
1 fennel bulb - small dice
1 zucchini - small dice
1 squash - small dice
4 vine-ripened tomatoes - small dice
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup capers
1/2 cup sunflower seeds - raw & unsalted

olive oil
5 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tbs superfine sugar
1 tbs black pepper
1 tbs sea salt

Cut the eggplant into 1/2 inch cubes.  Season with sea salt.  Leave to drain in a colander for 2 hours.

Heat some olive oil in pan.  Cook the onions over medium heat until soft.  NO COLOR.  If you allow the onion to brown, start again.  Remove the onion and place in a glass bowl.  Mix in the diced tomatoes.

Heat the peanut oil in a deep heavy bottom pot to 350 F.  Add the celery and deep fry for 2 minutes.  Remove with a spider.  Allow the oil to come back up to temperature and repeat the same process with the eggplant, zucchini, fennel, and squash.

Place all fried veggies in the bowl with the onion and tomato.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to infuse at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours.  The natural steam from the fried veggies helps the dishes disparate flavors come together.

Note: Do not put in the fridge it will dull down the flavors.

For the Pacific Halibut:
2 - 8 ounce Pacific Halibut filets
Wondra flour
Sea salt
White pepper
Fennel Pollen

Canola oil

Remove the fish from the fridge 15 minutes before cooking.  Pat dry with paper towels to remove as much excess moisture as possible.  Season with the flour, sea salt, white pepper, and fennel pollen.

In a heavy bottom pan, heat the canola oil over medium high heat.  When the pan is very hot, add the fillets.  Cook for about 2 minutes on each side.  Gently remove from the pan to a rack to rest.  Lightly season with some sea salt.

To plate:
 - Center some of the caponata
 - Using a microplane, grate some dark chocolate over the caponata
 - Gently lay the halibut on top
 - Garnish with edible flowers

That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!


  1. Happy 10th... It's amazing to read stories about couples ho have been together that long... especially in this crazy world..
    Caponata con Pan-Roasted Pacific Halibut sounds good.. serious cooking but good!
    Here's to more years to celebrate... Cheers!

  2. Happy Happy Anniversary! What a treat and to think you took the time to share a delicious dish with us, the intelligences of your significant other in selecting you becomes more evident with every post. =) Have a wonderful time and Congratulations!

  3. Beautiful, Lazaro! The presentation is exquisite and the combination of flavors here is incredible. I love the grated chocolate on top! Happy 10th anniversary - have a wonderful celebration tonight!!!

  4. Beautiful dish. Happy 10 year anniversary!I didn't know about the chocolate traditionally being grated into caponata--I must do that next time I make it!

  5. Happy 10th! Presentation as always fabulous!

  6. Happy Anniversary to you both...And this is a lovely dish :)

  7. Congratulations on your anniversary Lazaro. This is a beautifully presented dish.

  8. Happy 10th Anniversary to both you and your lovely wife.
    This is a beautiful, I like the grated chocolate and the edible flowers to accentuate the dish.

  9. Happy 10th your loving words brought tears to my eyes many many more wonderful years ahead for you both~ what a lovely dinner as well love halibut the wondra flour is fabulous use it all the time!

  10. Happy anniversary and enjoy the town your night on the town. Thanks for the halibut dish. It's lovely indeed. Some of the purple edible flowers look like hearts. Perhaps you planned it that way?

    Cheers to you both and I hope you have many happy years.

  11. This sounds like quite a sophisticated recipe, I like the addition of fennel pollen. I adore halibut, and this is a wonderful dish to celebrate such a significant milestone.

  12. Happy 10th Anniversary to you and the laywer...does she have a name?

    Question: Do you rinse the salt off the eggplant after 2 hours...

    Chocolate on the Caponata? Interesting.


  13. Congratulations and happy anniversary! I just saw pacific halibut in the market and we have fennel pollen everywhere so this recipe couldn't be more timely, thanks for sharing such a unique, beautiful and I'm sure delicious recipe:-)

  14. here's hoping your next ten years find you as happy as you are tonight.. have a great evening!

  15. Congrats!! Enjoy your evening :) The floral accent to this dish is especially beautiful!

  16. first congratulations on your anniversary, I hope you and your better half have a wonderful night out! Now lets talk halibut....what a beautiful presentation, the caponata is such a great touch with this wonderful fish!

  17. The halibut looks wonderful!...Happy 10 year anniversary; hope you two enjoy a lovely celebration!

  18. Happy 10th anniversary to you and the lawyer! I canta believe you've been married for 10 years, you look so young :-D

    This dish sounds wonderful, and beautiful presentation as usual. I love the colourful flower pedals, especially the purple ones. I've never had halibut and eggplants together before but they are absolutely two of my favorites. Another wonderful dish Lazaro! Hope you two lovebirds had a great 10th!

  19. Happy Anniversary!

    My favorite place to get Pacific Halibut sent to me:

  20. Happy 10th Anniversary to you and the lovely lawyer :)

    This is just so beautiful, I would be distracted from eating it. Caponata has never appealed to me but I would be most willing to try your lovely rendition of. It truly is breathtaking - love the presentation and the garnish of purple flowers and rose petals!

  21. I was fascinated with your interpretation of caponata. I make it all the time and while our ingredients are similar, the technique is totally different. I've never tried it frying vegetables (I do a more stew like version) and I've never heard of adding chocolate. Gives me something to think about -- and that's what visiting blogs is all about. Happy Anniversary!

  22. Congratulations on your anniversary! It sounds like you two were made for each other! Your dish looks incredibly delicious, love halibut!

  23. Yummy dish! And happy anniversary!!!

  24. Congratulations! Now that is one heck of a celebratory meal! Hope the dessert was wonderful! :) :)
    I was surprised that it couldn't be placed in the fridge. Great tip!

  25. Happy Anniversary! And such a lovely dish....perfect for any celebration :D

  26. Happy 10th anniversary. Wishing you many more years of happiness together.
    Delicious post.
    Have a great Sunday ♥

  27. Awwwwwww! :3 That's so adorable! (I'm a teenage girl; I feed off this stuff :P)
    Congratulations on 10 years. :)

    And thank you for sharing your wonderful recipe! I'd only ever heard of caponata but was not sure of what exactly it was. :)

  28. Happy 10th Anniversary! This is a really lovely dish to celebrate such a special occasion. I bet the dark chocolate adds a truly amazing depth of flavor!

  29. Happy anniversary! This dish sure looks like a way to celebrate.

  30. Happy 10 years!! that is amazing. Hope you two had a fabulous night out on the town.

    I love the edible flower garnishings (is that a word?)

  31. Happy 10 years Anniversary to you and Michelle! Time flies indeed.Having a right partner is a true gift!

    As I said, this dish is so sexy! Love how you cooked it. Every element is well taken care of.You like to cook with peanut oil huh? :=)

  32. Awww congratulations! Ten years is no easy feat. Kudos to you guys. I would have no qualms about staying with a guy who made caponata this good. Looks delicious.

  33. Lazaro, what a beautiful piece of it with the veggies...lovely meal :-)

  34. Lazaro, you are SUCH A ROMANTIC! It's so nice to see! As per usual, beautiful presentation. The edible flowers add such a nice hit of brightness and colour, don't they?

    I make caponata too and no cioccolato, never heard of that! Mine is much more rustica and has anchovies in it. YUM! I also serve mine over seared tuna with rice. It's good to have on hand to serve unexpected company just on crackers or crostini.

    So, DO TELL, where does Lazaro take his wife out in the big city? I'm dying to know where you went to celebrate? I would like to go to Casa Tua this year....we'll see, not sure if we'll have a spare $300 or so...!

  35. Congrats!!! and heres to many more wonderful years, I love the dish, so perfect for such a celebration, grated choclate...lovely


  36. How BEAUTIFUL and romantic! Congratulations on your anniversary!!! Never heard of caponata--interesting...

  37. Happy anniversary! that is a perfect dish to celebrate such an event. I love caponata with fish and even though never tried it with chocolate, I can see why it works alltogether!

  38. What a beautiful presentation Lazaro! This looks wonderful and sounds wonderful too!


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