This recipe was submitted by Michael “Suey” Sulak. Suey is with the Seattle Fire Department, working out of Station 8. Thanks Suey!
(Fiery Crab Stuffed Pancetta Wrapped Halibut Cheeks with Zesty Basil Lemon Cream Sauce)
Why this recipe is the “hottest”:
This is a dish fit for a king, or should I say Chief? Hey, if your Fire Chief or the Mayor is coming to the fire house for dinner, then this dish is sure to impress. The halibut cheek is the prime cut of the fish. Stuffed the spicy crab mixture and topped with the zing of the cream sauce will make your special guest in the station want to slide up a fire pole
Crab Stuffed Pancetta Wrapped Halibut Cheeks:
- 1 cup Panko (Japanese bread crumbs), lightly toasted
- 1 lb crabmeat
- 1 cup whipped cream cheese
- 3 scallions, green tops and whites finely minced, about ¼ cup
- ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained and finely minced
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tbls. Tabasco® brand Garlic Sauce
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 24 thin slices pancetta (about 3 oz.)
- 12 halibut cheeks
- 1 cup chopped pecans lightly toasted
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves (packed)
- 2 large cloves chopped fresh garlic
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large lemons, juiced
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 4 tbls. butter
- 4 tbls all-purpose flour
Basil Lemon Cream Sauce:
- 2 tbls. butter
- 1 tbls. extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tbls. Shallot, minced
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- ½ cup very dry sherry
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp roux (see above)
- 1 tsp. Tabasco® brand Habanero Pepper Sauce
- 3 tbls. Pesto (see above)
- 2 tbls. chives, chopped
- Zest from lemons used above
- Preheat oven to 450º.
- Also preheat a second oven to 350º for toasting walnuts.
- Lightly toast Panko in a pan over medium high heat, stirring frequently as not to burn.
- Remove from pan when golden in color.
- In a medium size bowl, combine the crabmeat, cream cheese, toasted Panko, minced scallions, minced sun-dried tomatoes, beaten egg, Tabasco® brand Garlic Sauce, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Set aside.
Preparing halibut cheeks:
- Take each halibut cheek and, with a paring knife, cut horizontal pockets into them.
- Stuff the crabmeat mixture into the halibut cheeks.
- Wrap each stuffed halibut cheek with a slice of pancetta.
- Lightly toast the walnuts on a baking sheet in a preheated 350° oven for 10 minutes.
- Place the basil, walnuts, and chopped garlic together in a food processor and pulse, gradually incorporating the oil. Only use enough oil as to make a nice paste.
- Add the lemon juice, pulse again to mix.
- Remove pesto from food processor with a rubber scraper into a medium size bowl.
- Now add the freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and gently incorporate with rubber scraper.
- Set aside.
- Heat the butter in a medium size saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the flour and cook until light tan in color, about 5 minutes, stirring with a spoon so as not to burn.
- Remove the roux from the heat.
Basil lemon cream sauce:
- Heat the butter and oil in a medium size skillet over medium heat.
- Add the minced shallots and garlic and sauté, stirring frequently until the garlic is golden in color, about 7 minutes.
- Add the wine and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Now add the cream and simmer on low heat to reduce by half.
- Add the roux, whisking in a tablespoon at a time, until the sauce thickens.
- Add the Tabasco® brand Habanero Pepper Sauce followed by salt to taste.
- Keep the sauce warm over very low heat.
- Just before serving, add pesto and whisk to incorporate.
Cooking the Cheeks:
- Lightly grease a baking dish with some extra virgin olive oil.
- Place prepared cheeks in the greased baking dish and bake for 10 -12 minutes in the preheated 450º oven.
- Remove and arrange the halibut cheeks on a platter.
- With a spoon or small ladle, drizzle the lemon basil cream sauce on top.
- Garnish by sprinkling chopped chives and lemon zest on top.