I recently volunteered at the 3rd annual Taste: Victoria's Festival of Food and Wine and if you haven't been to this festival yet, make a mental note, because you'll want to go next year. Taste is a fabulously indulgent and classy food event that focuses on local chefs, restaurants and wineries. I had a great time managing the social media during the Main Event - tweeting, retweeting, replying and checking out pictures people captured on their phones. I had a blast and will definitely be there again next summer.
As a thank you, the organizers Kathy and Ladawne gave me a generous gift including the cookbook, Hastings House Country Estate. From the country house hotel it's named after, this delightful book from Salt Spring Island features some of their best recipes for brunch, dinner and dessert. The recipe for sablefish, braised du puy lentils, green asparagus and soy ginger emulsion caught my eye and inspired me to leave the lawn chair long enough to give this a try.
Pleased with my results, this is an elegant main course that makes you feel like you're dining out - but in the comfort of your own home. Keep your eyes on the lentils, the liquid and baking time may need adjusting. But isn't that part of the fun?
Halibut with braised lentils, asparagus and soy ginger sauce (serves 2)
2 shallots, diced
2 cups green or brown lentils, rinsed
1 carrot, diced
2 sticks of celery, diced
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 - 1/2 cup red wine
2 cups vegetable stock
Preheat oven to 350. In a medium saucepan, melt butter and saute shallots, carrot and celery until soft. Stir in rinsed lentils then add wine and vegetable stock. Place the pan, with a lid on it, in the oven for about 50 minutes. Check and stir along the way, sampling to see if more wine or stock is needed.
Soy Ginger Sauce
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated and juiced
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon + a pinch more of brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Grate the ginger and squeeze juice into a small bowl. Mix remaining ingredients together with a whisk and set aside.
1 bunch of green asparagus, trimmed and peeled
dap of butter and a splash of olive oil
salt and pepper to season
Snap off the stocky part of each asparagus stem and then peel using a vegetable peeler. In a medium fry pan, melt butter and olive oil together. Once hot, add asparagus, salt and pepper and quickly sear until tender and slightly charred.
2 portions of halibut
salt and pepper
Season each piece of halibut with salt and pepper, both sides. Heat a large fry pan with olive oil. Once hot, sear both sides of the halibut until just cooked all the way through.
To serve, plan a large spoonful of lentils in the middle of your plate. Top with halibut, grilled asparagus and drizzle the soy ginger sauce on top and around the plate. Pour a glass of wine, light some candles and enjoy!