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Braised Halibut with Summer Vegetables and Orzo

This beautiful, simply seasoned dish is best made the evening after you visit a farmers’ market. Choose the ripest, juiciest tomatoes for the most flavorful results. To remove fresh corn kernels from the cob, stand the cob upright in a large, shallow bowl and hold it firmly. Starting at the top, use a sharp knife to shear off the kernels close to the cob. Alternatively, use a kernel cutter.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. heirloom tomatoes 
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar 
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste 
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste 
  • 1/2 lb. orzo 
  • 1 1/4 lb. halibut fillet  
  • 1/2 lb. zucchini 
  • 1/4 cup water 
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels 
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped  

Directions:

Core the tomatoes and cut into 1-inch chunks, reserving as much of the juices as possible. Put the tomatoes and their juices in a bowl and stir in the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, the 1/2 tsp. salt and a few grindings of pepper. Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the orzo and cook until al dente (tender but firm to the bite), 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, rinse in cold water and set aside.

Remove any skin from the halibut fillet and cut into 4 portions. Halve the zucchini lengthwise and cut into half moons 1/8 inch thick.

In a large, deep fry pan over medium-high heat, combine the tomato mixture, its accumulated juices and the water and bring to a boil. Add the fish and zucchini. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the corn, cover and cook until the fish is opaque but still moist in the center, about 5 minutes more. Stir in the orzo and cook until heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the basil and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Eat Well, by Charity Ferreira (Oxmoor House, 2008).