Halibut Salad with Citron Dressing

Ohyō no Yuzu-Miso Aé

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    3-4

    as a main course

Appears in

Japanese citron, or yuzu, adds a delightful flavor and aroma to many dishes in its native land. Here, the pure white, delicate flesh of poached halibut is beautifully paired with a yuzu-based dressing. The essence of this fruit’s peel is sold in small glass vials in many Oriental markets in the United States, and its unique flavor and aroma make it well worth the trouble of tracking this ingredient down. But if your best efforts at obtaining yuzu essence remain unrewarded, know that the alternative lemon-lime dressing is also marvelous.

Ingredients

  • 12-14 ounces halibut (the less expensive tail piece is perfect)

Poaching Liquid

  • 6-8 square inches dashi kombu (kelp for stock making)
  • 2-3 thin slices fresh lemon
  • ¼ cup saké (Japanese rice wine)
  • 1 cup water

Citron Dressing

  • tablespoons shiro miso (light fermented bean paste)
  • 1 teaspoon yuzu essence
  • ½ teaspoon mirin (syrupy rice wine)
  • 1 teaspoon strained broth from poaching

Alternate Lemon-Lime Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons shiro miso (light fermented bean paste)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • ½ teaspoon mirin (syrupy rice wine)
  • small bunch watercress (about 1 dozen sprigs)

Method

  1. Place the fish in a pot just large enough to hold it comfortably. Add the poaching liquid ingredients and cover. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle but steady simmer. Poach the fish, covered, for 5-6 minutes after the liquid has begun to bubble. Remove the pot, still covered, from the stove and let the fish sit in the hot liquid for 10-15 minutes. When you can comfortably handle the fish, remove it from the pot. Strain a bit of poaching liquid to reserve for later use.
  2. Remove the skin and bones from the fish. Flake the meat into fairly large chunks. Cover, and refrigerate while making the dressing.
  3. In a bowl, combine the citron or lemon-lime dressing ingredients, stirring to blend well. Toss the fish with the dressing, cover, and refrigerate again. Chill for at least 30 minutes or up to 12 hours.
  4. Reserve several of the prettiest sprigs of watercress for garnishing the salad. Finely mince the remaining watercress; there should be about 2 tablespoons. Just before serving, toss the minced watercress with the fish.
  5. The Japanese would serve small individual mounds of this sauced fish with a sprig of watercress jauntily leaning against it. You may prefer to place the salad on a bed of lettuce, or serve it spread on crackers or bread.