Seared Wild Alaska Halibut with Pancetta Salad
• 4 peppers, halved and deseeded
• 170g pack pancetta cubes
• 15g (½ oz) butter
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 4 x 100-150g (4-6oz) fillets wild Alaska halibut
• 4 handfuls baby spinach
• ½ red onion, thinly sliced
• 1 handful pea shoots, rocket or watercress
• 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tbsp lemon juice
• ½ tsp finely grated lemon zest
• 1 tsp whole grain or Dijon mustard
• 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the grill. Arrange the peppers on the grill rack cut side down. Grill them under a high heat until the skins begin to blacken and char. Put them on to a plate and cover tightly with cling film or put them into a sealed polythene bag – the steamy atmosphere will help to loosen their skins.
Next, make the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard and seasoning. Set to one side.
Heat a frying pan and add the pancetta cubes, sizzling them until golden brown and crispy. Tip them onto some kitchen paper to drain.
Add the butter and olive oil to the frying pan and heat for a few moments, and then add the halibut fillets. Cook them for about 6 or 8 minutes, turning them to cook on both sides. The flesh will be opaque and should flake easily when tested with a fork, though make sure that you don’t overcook the fish.
Place a handful of spinach leaves onto each of four serving plates. Peel the peppers, then tear them into strips and share them between the salads, along with the pancetta and pea shoots, rocket or watercress.
Serve the halibut with the salads, and drizzle the dressing over them. Serve at once.
Cook’s tips: Choose a variety of peppers for colour and flavour, or use ready-roasted peppers in olive oil for speed. Substitute six rashers of smoked streaky bacon for the pancetta, if you prefer.