Wine suggestion

Full-bodied white, light oak perhaps, mineral notes:
Chablis Premier Cru "La Forêt" 1998, Domaine Pinson (Chablis, France)
Grüner Veltliner "Kellerberg" 1998, F.X. Pichler (Austria)


Here's a recipe you can make with whatever vegetables you have on hand, since the defining ingredients are fresh fish and fresh herbs. It's made into a saucy dish by adding a little water during the final stage of cooking.

Yield: 4 servings

  • Two 10- to 12-ounce halibut steaks
  • Flour for dredging
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 12 medium asparagus stalks, peeled
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into eight 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 8 artichoke hearts, preferably fresh but frozen are fine
  • 1 large tomato, peeled, seeds and pulp discarded, flesh cut into rough chunks (not small dice)
  • 2 Tablespoons pitted black salt-cured olives
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen and thawed peas
  • 2 Tablespoons basil, roughly chopped
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper and cayenne pepper

Sprinkle the fish with salt and cayenne, then dredge lightly in the flour, shaking off the excess. Place a large, heavy saucepan or skillet, preferably non-stick, over high heat. A minute later, add the olive oil and butter. When the butter melts, place the halibut in the pan, with the garlic and thyme around it.

Cook for 1 minute, then add the asparagus, zucchini, and artichokes. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cover the pan. About 4 minutes later, when the underside of the halibut is browned, turn it. Add 1/2 cup water, along with the tomato and olives. Replace the lid and cook for 2 more minutes.

Remove the halibut, which should be slightly underdone, and keep it warm in a 200°F oven. Replace the lid and continue to cook the vegetables for another 2 minutes, adding a little water if necessary. The mixture should be loose, but not at all soupy. Add the peas and increase the heat to high. Season the vegetable mixture with salt and pepper, then return the fish to the pan. Cook for another minute or two, scooping the vegetables and the juice onto the fish.

Cover and turn off the heat; let the dish rest for a minute. Remove the fish and vegetables to plates, then garnish with the basil and a little coarse salt. Eat with a spoon.