Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Pan Sauteed Halibut w/ Garam Masala Cellini Beans

I bought 1 pound of dried Cellini Runner Beans, white beans that are a bit like lima beans with a very creamy texture and decided to cook up the whole bag. Why have leftovers when it'll be one of the main ingredients for tonight's dinner and the left overs (cooked beans will last in the frig a few days) can be tossed into a salad tomorrow or heated up pureed like a mashed potato or pureed cold for a cellini bean spread. Other beans can be substituted, don't be afraid to experiment.

To spice up my sauteed beans, I used some garam masala, an Indian spice blend that contains cumin, cinnamon, cardamon, cloves, and other spices. This also can be substituted with something already in the pantry such as curry powder or ground cumin.

Pan Sauteed Halibut w/ Garam Masala Celllini Beans Recipe
1 pound dried White Beans
2 cups onions, chopped (spring onions, red or yellow onions, or leeks)
1 each carrot, sliced
3 T or to taste, minced garlic
3 T or to taste, minced ginger
1 T Garam Masala
2 cups Ripe Tomato, large diced
4 large handful of greens: tatsoi, fava shoots, bloomsdale spinach
4 fillets of halibut or other fillets of fish, each about 4 -5 ounces

Cook beans to yield about 2 cups. I soaked the beans for 1 hour and cooked it in UNsalted water for about 1 hour, simmer gently and add more water if the water level drops below the beans. Soaking is not necessary, it'll just take a bit longer and the amount of time it takes for the beans to cook will vary greatly depending on the freshness of the dried beans, it may take up to 2 hours to cook some beans so plan ahead and let your taste tell you when they're cooked, soft and creamy. When done, take it off the heat and drain. Only 2 cups will be needed for this recipe, about 6 cups will remain.

Heat olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pan and cook the onions and carrots for a few minutes stirring and seasoning with salt and pepper.

Add ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute

Add garam masala and stir for 1 minute to "toast" the spices

Add the beans and tomatoes (and their juice)

Toss well and season with salt and pepper. Starchy foods always "eat" up much more salt and since the beans were cooked without salt, it will take a bit to season properly. Taste often throughout the process and adjust with salt and pepper.

Lower heat and cover and continue to cook. Covering the pan at this point will allow the steam from escaping and creating a juice in the pan.

After 10 minutes of gently simmering add greens, toss, cover and simmer for a few more minutes until the green are wilted.

Just before adding the greens into the pan of beans, start on the fish.

Heat a large non stick skillet.

Add fish fillets that are already brushed with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. With a non stick skillet, you don't need to add a lot of oil so I brushed olive oil all over the fish fillets and seasoned it with salt and ground white pepper, kept the skillet dry of oil.

Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side. The pan should be over a medium high heat. I only flip the fish over once, the more I flip, the more chances of the flesh breaking and I turn the fish over when I can see opaqueness (a sign of doneness) edging about 1/2 way up the sides of the fillet. At that point, I flip the fillet and cook on the other side less time than the first side took. The fillets will all have different thicknesses so they will be flipped and done at different times. There is carry over cooking, the retained heat inside the fillet will continue to cook the fish so take if off the heat slightly before your desired doneness. These are all approximate times and most fillets of fish cook very quickly, 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet. Error on the side of under doneness as it is impossible to fix overcooked fish and who wants a well done halibut.

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