The Yankee Chef: My first foray

I remember all too well my first attempt at cooking at my fathers restaurant in Maine. I had just gotten home from school and went directly into his kitchen, as I did every day. He would go home and take a nap for a couple of hours during the slow afternoon. A party of four came in and I was so excited because I felt as though I was king of the castle. Well, all four patrons ordered grilled halibut and this would be the first time I cooked this firm, white fish. I am glad to relate that the customers enjoyed it and my head still hasn't recovered from the "swelling" from that day.

Halibut with Chorizo and Corn Sauce

There aren't many fish that can hold up to a sausage that is as powerful tasting as Chorizo but halibut is one of those very few. The mingling of smoked sausage with the bounty of the sea that is halibut not only is great together, but with the addition of Corn Sauce? Well, it has new England written all over it.

1/2 cup whole kernel corn, 2 ounces Chorizo Sausage, sliced and quartered, 1/4 cup vegetable broth, 4 tablespoons hot sauce, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon minced garlic in oil, 1 stick butter or margarine, divided into 5 pats, Salt and pepper to taste, 2 cups clam fry mix, for breading*, 2 eggs, beaten, 1/2 cup half-and-half cream, 4(6 to 8-ounce)halibut fillets, 1/4 cup vegetable oil,

In a large skillet, add the sausage, corn, vegetable broth, hot sauce, lemon juice and garlic and simmer over medium heat until the liquid has reduced to half, about 4-5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the butter, a pat at a time, gently stirring with a wooden spoon. Melt the first pat before adding another.

Do not let the sauce boil. When all the butter has been added and the sauce is thick and creamy, season to taste with salt and pepper and reduce heat to the lowest setting possible. Continue to stir every few minutes while preparing the rest of the recipe.

Put the clam fry mix in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg with the half-and-half. Dip the fillets into the egg wash, shaking excess off and immediately coat with clam fry mix, shaking excess off as well. Get 2 large skillets ready(or with one large skillet) by placing them over high heat with a 1/4-cup vegetable oil in each. When oil is hot, add the fillets carefully and fry them about 3-4 minutes per side, or until done. Carefully drain off the oil, plate the fillets and pour sauce over cooked fish, serve immediately.

*Clam fry mix is available in most supermarkets but if you can't locate any, simply substitute flour or unseasoned, dry bread crumbs.


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