Some seemingly high-end ingredients come together in this halibut and white bean stew to make a simple, flavorful and luxurious dish with just minutes of prep.
Halibut (Hippoglossus spp.) is a wonderfully firm and tasty flatfish that works very well as a filet, deep-fried or in grilled dishes. Feeding in deeper waters or near the bottom, it is almost omnivorous and close to the top of its food chain, and the fish is prized for its muscular white flesh with a texture similar to salmon or tuna but not as oily. However, with Atlantic species almost extinct due to overfishing, halibut prices can be moderately steep.
Naturally, any whitefish can easily be substituted in this dish but including a few ingredients known more for their luxury than budget can subtly elevate a basic stew such as this. White wine, shallots, cannellini beans and just a pinch of saffron go a long way toward transforming a simple fisherman’s stew into a more delicate and indulgent meal.
Cannellini beans are a fairly large white bean commonly used in the cuisine of central and southern Italy. Similar to its red cousin, the kidney bean, cannellini beans have a creamy texture when cooked and hold up well in salads, soups and stews. Great northern beans or navy beans can be substituted but will lose the presentation provided by the distinct size of the cannellini.
Pair this dish with a light garden salad dressed with a simple herb vinaigrette, and serve with a slice of toasted loaf rubbed with garlic and Parmesan.
Halibut and White Bean Stew
¾ lb halibut
2 rashers of bacon
4 cloves of garlic
14.5-oz can of tomatoes (diced)
2 15-oz cans of cannellini beans
8 oz clam broth
½ c white wine
1 T parsley
1 Chop the bacon and finely slice the shallots. Fry the bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 5 min, then add the shallots and sauté until soft, about another 5 min.
2 Mince the garlic and add along with a dash of olive oil. Sauté for 1 min more.
3 Add tomatoes with juice, clam broth, wine, parsley, a pinch of saffron and season to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 min.
4 Rinse the beans and add, bringing back to just a boil. Cut the halibut into chunks and add off the heat.