VANILLA LATTE is a blog dedicated to food & travel with occasional random stuff thrown in. It is managed and written by me, Maggie Ha.

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Asparagus & Halibut Basquaise 19Oct09

Halibut Basquaise

Asparagus Basquaise

Here it is, my first dish in my new kitchen! It wasn’t as bad as I thought, luckily I chose to make something that I had all the ingredients for. Whew! So a basquaise dish is traditionally a peppers and onions red wine reduction with lots of peppers, the key ingredient is piment d’Espelette – paprika, along with garlic and thyme. Usually the traditional French dish requires some ham or bacon for that rich salty flavor but I did a version that was vegetarian friendly and oh SO delicious. I served a vegetarian dish with roasted asparagus and a meatier fishy version with halibut.

You can make a basquaise out of other things as well… that’s just the chunky peppers and onion sauce. You can put chicken or fish on top of it and it will go perfectly. I opted for roasted asparagus for a vegetarian dish but grilled eggplant or zucchini would go nicely as well. I added grape tomatoes to my version for that added burst of flavor when you bite into one. A basquaise sounds difficult but it really is easy and it tastes amazing! Hope you enjoy it!

2 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
1/2 cup of grape or cherry tomatoes
1 can of peeled whole tomatoes, drained, seeded, and diced
1/2 cup of red wine
sea salt
fresh ground pepper
pinch of piment d’Espelette or paprika

2 fillets of halibut
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
3 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
fresh ground pepper
sea salt

handful of asparagus, trimmed
extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
fresh ground pepper
sea salt

Preheat oven to 350°F or 170°C (only for asparagus)

Step 1: The basquaise part
In a medium pot, heat up about 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Now drizzle in about 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Toss in the chopped onion and let that sweat for a couple minutes. Now add in the chopped bell pepper and garlic and let that cook until peppers are starting to soft. Now add in the thyme leaves, grape tomatoes and diced canned tomatoes. Let that simmer for about 10 minutes until everything is combined and the tomatoes are cooking down. Now add in the red wine and turn the heat down low. You’re going to want to let that simmer for about 30 minutes until the liquid reduces down. Add salt and pepper to taste and top off with a pinch of paprika! Set aside until serving or you can make this the day before.

Step 2: The asparagus!
In a oven safe baking dish, drizzle in about 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to coat the dish. Place your trimmed asparagus in the dish and drizzle in a little bit more of that olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt, fresh ground pepper and chopped garlic. Toss to coat evenly and place in the oven for about 15 minutes at 350°F or 170°C. That’s it!

Step 3: The Halibut!
In a large frying pan, melt about 2 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. Now drizzle a little bit of extra virgin olive oil to prevent the butter from burning. Season your halibut with sea salt and pepper and then place onto the fry pan. Toss in the garlic and fresh thyme leaves on the side. Let the halibut cook for about 4-6 minutes depending on how thick it is. Flip and cook for another 2 minutes. You can put a fork in the middle to check to see if it’s done – it should be warm but not hot! Once it’s ready, we can plate!

Serve asparagus or halibut on top of a bed of the peppers and onion sauce. Add an extra drizzle of olive oil if you want or some additional fresh ground pepper. I had this with some delicious crusty bread to soak up the sauces… I highly recommend a sourdough or something similar with a big crunchy crust. The sauce is so delicious, you almost want to just eat it plain with some bread and butter. Mmmm might do that with leftovers now! Enjoy!



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Ground Support

My local favorite is currently Ground Support in SOHO. I go there almost every day for a smooth creamy soy cappuccino or if it’s hot out an iced soy latte. When I’m not in a hurry to run out, I try to take a few extra minutes to enjoy the coffee in the shop… you know, chat with the staff, catch up on some calls and best of all… people watch. Always some interesting characters in NYC!

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