Halibut with Goat Cheese Polenta and Corn and Bacon Relish
Fresh Alaskan Halibut is absolutely delicious, but even more delicious atop creamy goat cheese polenta.
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While my husband was underway (deployed at sea) a couple weeks ago, he sent me a video of a massive halibut being caught by one of his shipmates. I kindly responded with…you better bring some of that fish home. Being the incredible husband that he is, I came home to a freezer full of fresh halibut. The fresh salmon and halibut is one of Alaskas huge perks. It bring a whole new meaning to “wild caught fish”.
Of course I immediately started thinking about all the different recipes I wanted to make with the fresh halibut. Halibut is an extremely mild tasting white fish that takes on pretty much any flavor you serve it with. A fish like salmon or tuna has a more overpowering flavor, but halibut you can sort of mold it to have any flavor you want. Naturally, I chose cheese and bacon.
It’s mid summer and I want to put fresh corn in pretty much every meal. It is in prime season right now and it’s one of my favorite veggies. It’s sweet, it has the perfect crunch and it’s just downright delicious. When I saw the corn on the cob sitting in my refrigerator I decided to make a little corn and bacon relish to go with my fish. Bacon is perfect for adding tons of flavor and seasoning to a dish with very little effort. I wanted a nice fluffy “bed” for my flaky fish and polenta was calling my name.
This dish may sound slightly fancy and complicated but it’s surprisingly easy and I was able to have it on the table in about 30 minutes. I started by making my polenta. If you have never had polenta before, it is a cornmeal base that is cooked to a fluffy consistency. Almost a grit like texture. I started by bringing 6 cups of water to a boil. Then added 1 cup of polenta. This makes more than enough polenta for several plates. The polenta soaks up all of the water and expands. I gently whisk the polenta the whole time it’s cooking, for about 30 minutes. While the polenta was cooking, I chopped up some bacon and threw it in a pot. I cooked the bacon pieces until they were super crispy and then removed them with a slotted spoon, reserving about half of the bacon grease. In the same pot, I added my corn kernels. I let them slightly brown and absorb all the delicious flavor from the bacon. To this, I added about a tablespoon of dijon mustard and a little bit of diced garlic. I turned the heat down to low and forgot about it for a little bit. Whisk the polenta a little more… then heat a skillet with some olive oil for your halibut. I did a light seasoning of sea salt and pepper and that’s it. I seared each side of halibut for about 3 minutes per side. You want it to be cooked through but be very careful not to overcook it as the texture will become a little tough. While the fish is finishing up, I threw some goat cheese and a little butter into the polenta and gave it a final whisk.
To plate, I laid down a bed of creamy polenta, then set my halibut on top of that, gave it a nice serving of the corn and then finished it off with some of the bacon pieces. Boom, gourmet dinner! This is such a simple dish to make and you are sure to impress your dinner guests with this one! Just be sure to memorize the name of the dish and make your dinner guests oooh and ahhh over your impressive culinary skills (just don’t tell them how easy it was).
Serving for 4
4 filets of halibut
sea salt and pepper
1 cup polenta (or cornmeal)
1/4 cup goat cheese
2 tablespoons butter
3 ears of fresh corn, off the cob
4 pieces of bacon, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Heat a large pot with 6 cups of water to a boil. Add polenta and reduce to a simmer. Whisk every 2-3 minutes.
In a separate pot, add bacon pieces and cook until crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve half of the bacon grease in the pot.
To the pot with the bacon grease, add corn kernels and garlic. Cook until just beginning to brown.
Add the dijon mustard to the corn mixture and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and stir occasionally.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Season halibut filets with salt and pepper and place in skillet. Cook on each side for 3 minutes or until fish is white all the way through.
To finish polenta, add 2 tablespoons butter and the goat cheese and whisk to combine.
To plate, add polenta to the bottom of plate, top with halibut filet and then the corn mixture. Finish with reserved bacon pieces and enjoy!