Steven Brown's recipe for curried-corn sauce combines two of our favorite ingredients: sweet summer corn and vibrant yellow curry. Brown, the chef and owner of Tilia in Minneapolis, slices the corn's tender kernels off the ears before blending them with coconut milk, Madras curry powder and kaffir-lime leaves. The result is a sweet-spicy backdrop for tender halibut filets, which he quickly brines in salt and ground anise seeds before baking. Topped with tangy pickled chanterelles, this dish takes us straight from late summer to early fall, all in one mouth-watering bite.
Halibut with Sweet-Corn Curry and Pickled Mushrooms
Recipe adapted from Steven Brown, Minneapolis, MN
Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 2 hours
Four 5-ounce halibut fillets
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon anise seeds
½ cup mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
½ cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
6 kaffir-lime leaves (substitute the zest of 3 limes if necessary)
1 small yellow onion, diced
1½ cups sweet corn (from 2 ears)
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon Madras-style curry powder
1 cup coconut milk
½ cup chicken stock
1 cup water
2 cups rice wine vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon chile flakes
1 teaspoon anise seeds
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 pound chanterelle mushrooms (substitute canned straw mushrooms if chanterelles are not available), cleaned
½ small onion, thinly sliced
1 small carrot, thinly sliced into 2-inch-long slices
1. Prepare the halibut: Season the fish on all sides with the salt and anise seeds and set aside for 1 hour. In a medium bowl, combine the mirin and rice wine vinegar and dip the fillets in the mixture. Remove and pat dry. Set aside at room temperature while you make the rest of the dish.
2. Make the corn curry: In a medium saucepot set over medium heat, sweat the butter, garlic, lime leaves or zest, onion, corn, jalapeño and curry powder until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and chicken stock and bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and purée in a blender. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, season with salt and keep warm.
3. Make the pickled chanterelles: In a medium saucepot set over medium heat, combine the water, rice vinegar, sugar, sea salt, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, chile flakes, anise seeds and garlic. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Place the mushrooms, onion and carrot in a medium bowl and pour the water-vinegar mixture over the vegetables. Reserve.
4. Preheat oven to 300º. Place the fish on a lightly oiled glass baking dish and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the fish is opaque and warm all the way through.
5. Divide the curried-corn sauce among 4 bowls and top each with a halibut fillet. Top with the mushrooms and serve immediately.