Our friend Faith just arrived from the wilds of Alaska for a visit. I didn't think to ask her to bring any regional culinary specialties (think salmon jerky and pickled beaver tail) but she did bring a copy of the Anchorage newspaper, which tells the story of a 365 pound halibut caught by a fisherman from Orange County, California (that's the O.C. to you, pal.)
My first thought was that it is sort of sad that the second largest recorded halibut caught in Alaska wasn't caught by an Alaskan, but my next thought was, when's dinner? Growing up in landlocked Vermont I developed an early aversion to creatures from the sea, with particular ire directed towards lobsters and fried clams. I've now come to think of this fish phobia as the folly of youth. Now I'm making up for lost time, and halibut has become my new best friend.
But we're talking about 365 pounds of halibut, and the mind reels with possibility. Even poor Hal's stomach contents included a dinner for 6; a four-pound cod. Halibut can be marinated in soy and ginger and served with Asian vegetables, or cooked with feta, tomatoes and black olives for a Mediterranean meal. I like to cube it, toss it in olive oil and lemon juice and grill the cubes on skewers. Then you can place the skewers onto a big salad, loaded with farm greens, maybe some blanched haricots verts, cooked corn cut from the cob....well, you get the picture.
Better still, Alaskan wild halibut is on the environmental defense short list of approved fish--it's plentiful in the Pacific and doesn't have to be raised in polluting pens on farms. For more information on responsible seafood choices, you can visit the www.oceansalive.org
To read the story of the lucky fisherman (and see a picture, too) who caught the giant fish, check out http://www.adn.com/front/story/6649118p-6535675c.html