Lemon Curd Halibut

I finally got a chance to sample some of the honeyed lemon curd I made for the tea, and I have to say, it turned out really great—nice and thick, and neither too sweet nor too tangy, perfect not only for topping crumpets, but filling tart shells, smearing between layers of cake, drizzling over sweet summer berries, spooning into yogurt with a handful of granola. So which of these ideal uses for lemon curd did I try first? Naturally, I smeared it on wild halibut fillets to serve over Israeli couscous.

The lemon curd formed the base of a very simple citrus glaze I stirred up with a splash of soy sauce, some fresh thyme, and a minced clove or two of garlic. The fillets themselves were simply dusted with salt, pepper, and whole wheat flour, then seared briefly on each side for a little color. They each got a generous coating of lemon curd glaze and went in the oven at 350F for 10 minutes or so to finish cooking. (These were quite small fillets, so just make sure the fish is cooked through but not dried out.) When the fish was done, the glaze was slightly caramelized but still creamy, and very much like those recipes you sometimes see that call for smearing mayonnaise on fish before baking, the eggs and butter in the curd kept the halibut incredibly moist as the soy, sugar and lemon flavored it. The result was succulent, citrusy fish that my dad compared texturally to scallops.

I had suggested fish and couscous because we were looking to have a relatively quick-cooking meal, and my mom was the one who hit the grocery store while I served as a human jungle gym and incentive for Nolan at OT. She came back with pearl-like Israeli couscous instead of the ordinary tiny kind, so dinner took just a few minutes longer to cook than I had anticipated. I toasted it up with butter, and then simmered it with homemade chicken stock and some strips of home-dried lemon zest until tender; when all the liquid was absorbed, I threw in a handful of spinach leaves from the garden and a little cream saved from the top of the milk jar.

Never fear, I did use some of the curd in a more classic application, serving as a bed for sliced strawberries in a summery galette. A few sprigs of lemon thyme kneaded into the pate brisee crust gave a subtly contemporary twist to this simple dessert that was pretty enough to serve at a tea party—something to remember for next time!

Honeyed Lemon Curd

1/3 C freshly squeezed lemon juice
5 egg yolks
1/3 C honey, or to taste
Zest of 3 lemons
1 stick butter, softened

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the first four ingredients. Turn the heat on to medium, and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and you start to see a few bubbles popping at the surface. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter a tablespoon at a time, adding each new pat just before the last melts. Strain the curd through a fine sieve if desired, then allow to cool slightly and store in the refrigerator for several hours to thicken; press plastic wrap on the surface of the curd as you would with a pudding. Keeps for about one week in the refrigerator.

Source: Adapted from The Nourishing Gourmet.

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