Mom's the kind of person you simply avoid cooking for. Everything's too greasy, too creamy, too cheesy, etc. But there are a few dishes that actually pass the Mom test, and very few of them are easy to make.
However, I can share one dish that is relatively simple, and it also happens to be one of the first that made me actually feel like a success in the kitchen. It might have still been too creamy for her taste, but it had to have been good enough, or everyone at the table would have known.
I first found the recipe in Bon Appetit back in October 2004 in the "Readers' Favorite Restaurant Recipes" section. I looked up the restaurant, Eartha's in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., but its Web site is down and there's very little new info. Guess I'll just assume the worst in this economy. But thank you, Eartha, for this delicious dish! Anyhoo, I seem to be unable to now locate the recipe on Epicurious, so I guess I'll just have to type out my cellophane-covered recipe (how geeky but yet intelligent is that?).
A few notes about the recipe. I am now channeling Mom when I say, "4 tablespoons of butter?!" One or two tablespoons are more than enough, really. I mean, who ever heard of bok choy and butter anyway (it's actually quite tasty, which I can admit since Mom doesn't read my blog because she can't stand to look at "the box")? And also, I had a hard time finding yellow curry paste until I found a huge tub of it at Uwajimaya. So let me know if you'd like to borrow some! Oh yeah, and as you may have noticed from the picture, I forgot the green onion tops. I always forget the garnish! And lastly, if you're looking for nice halibut but don't want to pay Whole Food prices, I got my cut at Costco and it was quite perfect.
And here's what you've been waiting for:
Roasted Halibut With Shitake and Bok Choy in Thai Curry Sauce
1 13.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 c. low-salt chicken broth
1 T. yellow curry paste
1 T. curry powder
1 T. (or more) fresh lemon juice (optional)
2 T. vegetable oil
4 6- to 8-ounce halibut fillets (about 1-inch thick)
4 T. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1-1/2 pounds shitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1 pound baby bok choy, leaves separated from core
1 cup chopped green onion tops
Preheat oven to 450 F. Bring coconut milk, chicken broth, curry paste and curry powder to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until sauce thickens enough to coat spoon, whisking occasionally, about 3 minutes. Add lemon juice to taste.
Heat vegetable oil in heavy large nonstick ovenproof skillet over high heat. Sprinkle halibut with salt and pepper. Add fish to skillet and sear until browned, about 3 minutes. Turn fish over and place skillet in oven. Roast fish until just opaque in center, about 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add mushrooms and saute until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add bok choy; saute until leaves begin to wilt and stems soften slightly, about 5 minutes. Season vegetable mixture to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon 1 tablespoon curry sauce onto each of 4 plates. Top with vegetable mixture, then fish. Spoon remaining sauce over fish, sprinkle with green onions and serve.