Halibut and Lobster with Vanilla and Sweet Corn
This dish is as colorful as it is delicious, with a medley of vegetables forming a bed for browned succulent fillets of halibut topped with New England lobster. The scent of vanilla in the beurre blanc heightens the sweet flavor of the lobster. The beurre blanc may be made up to 3 hours in advance and kept warm in a warmed insulated bottle, and the vegetables may be made up to 3 hours in advance and reheated over low heat. The lobster may be boiled up to 1 day in advance and refrigerated, tightly wrapped. Rewarm in hot salted water.
- Vanilla Beurre Blanc
- Dry white wine - 1/2 cup
- Shallots - 2, minced
- Vanilla bean - 1/2, split lengthwise
- Unsalted Butter - 1/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks), cut into 1-tablespoon pieces
- Lobsters - two, 1- to 1-1/2-pound
- Boiling Potatoes - 2, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- Carrots - 4, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- Fresh Corn - 2 ears, 2 ears fresh corn, or one 10-1/2-ounce package frozen corn, thawed
- Zucchini - 1, cut into uniform balls with a 1/4-inch melon baller
- Chicken Stock - 1/2 cup
- Unsalted Butter - 1/2 cup (1 stick)
- Olive Oil - 1/4 cup
- Halibut Fillets - eight, 6-ounce, 1 inch thick
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
- Fresh Chives - 2 tablespoons minced
To make the beurre blanc: In a small saucepan, combine the white wine and shallots. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the pan, then drop in the pods. Boil until only 1 tablespoon of liquid remains. Remove the pan from the heat and pick out the vanilla bean pods with tongs. Whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, making sure each piece has been fully incorporated before adding the next one. Keep the pan off the stove, but have a burner set on low to reheat the sauce briefly if it becomes too cool to melt the butter. The sauce should be kept hot enough that steam rises from the surface, but not so hot that it boils and streaks of yellow butter appear. When the butter has been incorporated, set aside and keep warm over barely tepid water or in an insulated container.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Plunge the lobsters into the water head-first, and once the water returns to a boil, cook them for 6 to 8 minutes, depending on size. Drain the lobsters and place them in a bowl of ice water. When they have cooled, remove the meat from the shell. Remove and discard the intestinal vein that runs down the tail, the sand sac just behind the eyes, and the spongy gills along the body walls. Slice the meat into 1/2-inch pieces and set aside.
Bring a medium saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and carrots and boil over medium heat until almost tender, about 4 minutes. If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the ear with a sharp knife and discard the cobs. Drain the potatoes and carrots and return them to the saucepan along with the fresh or defrosted corn kernels, zucchini, chicken stock, and the butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until the corn is cooked. Set aside and keep warm.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan or skillet over high heat. Sprinkle the halibut with salt and pepper and place the fillets in the hot pan. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on a side, or until golden brown. Place the fillets in an ovenproof baking pan and divide the lobster pieces on top of the fillets. Bake the fillets for 5 to 7 minutes, or until they are mostly opaque but still slightly translucent in the center; the fish will continue to cook after being removed from the oven.
To serve: Add the chives to the corn, potato, and carrot mixture, and simmer over low heat for 2 minutes. Spoon the vegetable mixture onto warmed serving plates and place one halibut fillet on each vegetable bed. Ladle beurre blanc over each fillet.