Your Life A to Z Recipe: Monday, August 11th,, 2014: Pancetta Wrapped Halibut with Pea Risotto, Morels and Asparagus

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Pancetta Wrapped Halibut with Pea Risotto, Morels and Asparagus



•    Extra virgin olive oil
•    1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
•    pinch of crushed red pepper
•    4 halibut filets, about 5 ounces each
•    6 ounces thinly sliced guanciale or pancetta


•    6 thick spears asparagus, peeled
•    4 tablespoons unsalted butter
•    6 ounces fresh morel or cremini mushrooms, cleaned and cut into bite-size pieces
•    2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
•    Freshly ground pepper to taste
•    Up to 8 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
•    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
•    4 shallots, peeled and minced
•    2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
•    1 pound Arborio rice
•    1/2 cup dry white wine
•    1/4 cup cooked tiny peas
•    3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
•    1/4 cup fresh chervil leaves


•    Exra virgin olive oil
•    1 tablespoon diced shallots
•    1 ounces fresh morel mushrooms
•    4 ounces asparagus , trimmed peeled cut into 2 inch lengths and blanched until tender
•    Pinch of crushed red pepper
•    1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
•    1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves plus 1 spring fresh thyme
•    kosher salt
•    1 clove garlic, lightly smashed


Cook the asparagus in boiling, salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold running water. Cut diagonally into 1/4-inch slices and set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and saute until soft, about 10 minutes. Season with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper and set aside.
Bring the broth to a boil in a medium saucepan, reduce heat and keep at a low simmer. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of butter with the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and garlic and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the rice with a wooden spoon, turning to coat well. Cook, stirring constantly, for 4 minutes. Stir in the wine, raise the heat to medium and cook until the wine is absorbed, about 1 minute.
Begin adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and adding more broth as it is absorbed by the rice. Adjust heat so rice and broth cook at a steady simmer. After about 15 minutes, the rice should be somewhat tender and some broth should be left.
Cook for another few minutes, adding more broth as needed, until the rice is al dente. Stir in the asparagus, the mushrooms, the peas, the chives and 1 tablespoon of butter. Season with 2 teaspoons of salt and pepper.


1.    On a rimmed dish large enough to hold the halibut combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, the thyme, and crushed red pepper. Add the halibut and turn to coat it. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.
2.    On a clean surface or on parchment paper, lay out about 10 slices of pancetta in two overlapping rows. Place a fillet on the guanciale and wrap the fish tightly with it. Repeat with the rest of the pancetta and fillets. Refrigerate the wrapped fish for at least 30 minutes.


1.    Heat a convection oven to 350F or a regular oven to 375F.
2.    In a medium sauté’ pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring until tender and browned about 5 minutes. Add the morels and cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add the asparagus and crushed red pepper and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the chives and thyme leaves. Season to taste with salt and keep warm.
3.    Meanwhile heat a large ovenproof sauté’ pan over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the halibut. Cook both sides until golden brown. Add the thyme spring and garlic to the pan, transfer the pan to the oven and cook until medium, about 7 minutes.
4.    Divide the risotto among serving plates. Spoon on top and randomly the vegetables and place the halibut on top of it. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil