Ai Fiori's Stuffed Morels and Halibut

Ai Fiori's Stuffed Morels and Halibut
Staff Writer
Stuffed Morels
Maryse Chevriere
Stuffed Morels

"It's the little touches that separate you from other places," says executive chef Chris Jaeckle, referring to the extra effort and thought put into the dishes that he serves at Ai Fiori. While at home, we are not able to create meals with such precision and technical know-how, chef Jaeckle has generously adapted the recipe for Ippoglosso — halibut, morels, asparagus, hollandaise, and foie gras — for us to replicate his masterpiece at home (well, at least the best we can). 

We were able to visit chef in the kitchen to watch him compose the dish from start to finish. If you want to see how it's done, check out the slideshow below for extra tips and advice. 

How did this intricate and lovely spring dish come about? In two ways really. First, executive chef Chris Jaeckle and chef/owner Michael White were brainstorming one day about how to use the Hold-O-Mat machine that they have and playing around with the idea of doing more with fish. Chef Jaeckle explains that compared to White’s other restaurants, Ai Fiori is more feminine in its approach to food whereas his other restaurants are more masculine with a focus on searing and meats. Ai Fiori has more of a Provencal influence that focuses on the region's cuisine and fish is a better fit for that type of food. As the restaurant is based in the Northeast, halibut, asparagus, and morels are in season during the spring, so it seemed natural that this dish would come together with all of these components and with the method used. —Yasmin Fahr

Click here to see the D.I.Y. Restaurant Recipes: Ai Fiori's Stuffed Morels and Halibut Slideshow. 

Ingredients

For the halibut:

  • Twelve 2-ounce portions of halibut        
  • Extra-virgin olive oil        
  • Zest of 1 lemon

For the pea purée:

  • 1 cup peas 
  • 2 ounces water
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

For the asparagus:

  • 1 bunch of green asparagus

For the halibut and foie gras mousse:

  • 4 ounces halibut trim                     
  • 2 ounces room temperature foie gras
  • 1 egg

For the morels:

  • 16 pieces morels

For the ginger hollandaise:

  • 1 bottle dry white wine                
  • 1 shallot              
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Two 1-inch pieces of fresh peeled ginger
  • 1 bay leaf            
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 3 egg yolks                                         
  • ½ cup clarified butter
  • Chervil, for garnish

Directions

For the halibut:

Steep the lemon zest in the olive oil over night. Brush the halibut fillets with the olive oil, place in a warm oven at 150 degrees. Place the fish in the oven for approximately 45 minutes until warm in the center.

For the pea purée:

Blanch the peas in salted water until tender. Take ¾ of the peas and place in a blender, adding the water and olive oil.  Blend until smooth, and pass through a fine mesh sieve. Reserve the leftover peas for the plate.

For the asparagus:

Cut the tops of the asparagus off 2 inches from the tip, and then repeatedly peel the stems creating strips. Blanch both cuts until tender.

For the halibut and foie gras mousse:

In a food processer blend the foie gras and halibut until smooth.  Add the egg and continue to mix for 1 minute.  Remove from the processer and place in a piping bag.

For the morels:

Cut the bottoms off of the morels and slice 7 of them thinly. Take the other 9 and stuff with the halibut and foie gras mousse.

For the ginger hollandaise:

Place everything but the eggs and butter in a pan and reduce to 4 tablespoons and strain. In a double boiler whisk the egg yolks until they thicken, and then slowly drizzle in the butter. Once incorporated, add the wine reduction and season.

To serve, warm all of the vegetables in a bit of butter and water.  Heat the purée in a small pot, adding water if needed.  Remove the fish from the oven, and place on the plate, wiping off the protein coagulates so it looks clean. Arrange the vegetables around the fish, spoon the purée in dollops* around a circular plate and the hollandaise on to the plate. Garnish with picked chervil.

Morel Shopping Tip

Buy mushrooms that are intact, firm, and fleshy. Avoid mushrooms that are slimy or have split caps.

Morel Cooking Tip

To clean mushrooms, briefly run cold water over them or gently wipe with a damp towel.