Poached Day-Boat Halibut with Tomato Confit and Aged Balsamic Vinegar

I came up with this dish in the early fall, in order to extend the tomato season a little more—I like keeping tomatoes on the menu as long as possible, since we are a French-Mediterranean restaurant. Provençal flavors are evident throughout the dish—olive oil, balsamic vinegar, eggplant. While halibut is fine sautéed, I think poaching is one of the better ways of cooking it and that it results in the best texture. This dish is representative of my style of cuisine, in that it’s light yet flavorful and respectful of the fish itself.

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggplants (about 3 pounds), split lengthwise
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 ounces extra virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Brush cut surface of eggplants with olive oil.
  2. Place cut surface down on roasting rack; place in a roasting pan.
  3. Roast in a 325° oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until eggplant skin collapses when touched; remove from oven.
  4. When cool enough to handle, scoop flesh out of eggplant into fine mesh strainer; allow to drain one hour.
  5. Place drained eggplant in food precessor, purée, and remove to a mixing bowl.
  6. Add egg, flour, garlic, salt, and pepper.
  7. Blend together.
  8. Place 1 ounce olive oil in 10-inch teflon pan and heat.
  9. Place 1 tablespoon of eggplant mixture in a medium-hot pan and sauté until edges begin to brown.
  10. Turn over, lower heat, and cook through.
  11. Remove and drain on paper towel, place on baking sheet, and continue until all the mixture is gone. You should have 18 to 20 pieces.
  12. Place on a baking sheet and heat them in a 325° oven when you are ready to serve.

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