Spring fever. Months of waiting and then suddenly... ramps, baby garlic, asparagus, fiddleheads, fava beans, spring peas! Beautiful vegetables burst onto the scene. It's all you can do to refrain from throwing them all together in one dish. So why hold back? This preparation uses a little bit of everything showing up at the farmers market, slicing the vegetables all very thinly and then reserving some and cooking the rest for varied texture and flavor. Light, indulgent, crunchy, and celebratory, this recipe for cream-poached halibut cheeks with spring vegetable medley may not be healthy, but it makes for a nice starter.
Check out more Healthy and Hearty Halibut Recipes.
Get a pot of water boiling and set up an ice bath. Shell the favas and peas and reserve separately. Clean fiddleheads and reserve. When the water is rolling add salt until it's briny. Reserve a half portion of the peas and then separately parboil the favas, peas, and fiddleheads for about 30 seconds, and then shock in the bath. Remove the outer membrane of the favas.
Set your pan on a low flame and melt the butter. Add the minced shallots, baby garlic, and jalapeño. Add 4 morels and sauté. Halve the tomatoes, tossing half in the pan, reserving the rest. Add the cream, stock, if using, and sherry. Simmer, then remove to a small pot.
Season the halibut cheeks with salt and pepper and add to the cream. Turn up to a high simmer and cover. Cook for about 6-8 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the favas and fiddleheads in half.
Adjust the seasoning of the cream sauce, then ladle in a bowl. Place the cheeks in the center. Being conscious of portioning the tomatoes and morels in the sauce, toss the reserved halved favas, peas, fiddleheads, tomatoes, thinly sliced asparagus, and morels on top of and around the cheeks. Ladle with sauce and chives.