Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Oral Fixation: Stuffed Poblanos and Halibut with White Asparagus and Bacon

The third installment of our irregular food feature, where I gab on about something I cooked.

I went into Westborn Market after work last night with no idea what I was going to make for dinner. Sometimes the best meals come from just walking around to see what looks good. (This can be really dangerous when you're hungry.) The first thing that caught my eye was a beautiful pile of fresh poblano peppers - not something we see so often in Michigan in December. The hunt was on for what to stuff them with and what to serve alongside. I've never attempted to make poblanos before, or even looked at recipe for that matter. The fun of cooking is making it up as you go.

I brought a pair of peppers home and stuffed them with mushroom goat cheese, sauteed baby spinach, spicy pickled garlic, lobster mushrooms, diced bulb onions and tomatoes, poured olive oil over the lot and popped them in the oven. Meanwhile in the skillet was white asparagus, chopped garlic and bacon. (Bacon makes everything better.) When the asparagus was done, we put two gorgeous pieces of wild halibut in the same pan and seared them right in the bacon fat with some sea salt and white pepper. This was a last minute decision that could have been disastrous, but I think ended up being a moment of divine intervention that pulled the whole meal together. The hint of smokey flavor the bacon grease added to the sashimi quality fish was phenomenal and unlike anything I've ever tasted.

When plated, the poblanos were topped with shaved machengo, fresh salsa and guacamole. The guac was a simple mixture of avocado, diced tomatoes and the same spicy pickled garlic in the peppers. The asparagus/bacon medley and the halibut was drizzled with the juice from the baking pan. I'm not sure exactly what that was, but can presume it was a combination of olive oil and fluids cooked out of the vegetables and cheese. Whatever it was, it was tasty.

This went surprisingly well with an '06 red Zinfandel. We actually had a Weiss beer poured as well, since beer seems to go better with most Mexican food, but the hearty red worked better in this case. The bacon, the cheese, the garlic... whatever it was, it worked. This is definitely something we'll be making again. ¡Buen apetito!

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