One of the many reasons I love to do cooking contests is because they force me to think outside of the box and to experiment with new ingredients. Recently I won a contest where I was required to use butter lettuce in a creative recipe. Challenge Butter + butter lettuce= a marriage made in heaven! They are both are velvety smooth and full of possibilities. Why not combine the two for a great recipe?
Lettuce is not just for salads, and butter can also be used to create healthy recipes. This is the point I wanted to make with my creation. In fact some of my favorite recipes include cooking with butter and lettuce. After all, lettuce is another green like spinach, kale or cabbage. Why not think of butter and lettuce in a different light?
I decided to create a delicate seafood recipe. It started with a beautiful piece of fresh halibut topped it with a flavorful crabmeat mixture. Then I wrapped the fish with tender pieces of butter lettuce. I soon discovered that when you poach lettuce wrapped fish, it acts like shrink wrap! It conforms to the fish making it not only beautiful, but adds a delicious flavor and keeps the fish moist and the filling intact.
Next to pull it all together, my Challenge Butter came into play. I created a quick sauce made in the blender with butter, capers, lemon, basil and of course, some more butter lettuce! To finish, a simple sprinkle of diced lettuce gave this dish a little bit of a crunch. Enjoy!
- ¼ cup finely diced shallots
- ¼ cup finely diced red bell pepper
- 6 tablespoons Challenge Butter, divided
- ¾ cup loosely packed fresh diced parsley, divided
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- 8 ounces crab meat
- 1 ½ pounds fresh halibut, skinned
- 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper, used throughout
- 2 heads Live Gourmet Living Butter Lettuce, divided
- 1 ½ cups vegetable or chicken broth
- ½ cup loosely packed fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 crushed clove garlic
1In a medium size fry pan, sauté diced shallots and bell pepper in 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and cool slightly. Add ¼ cup of the parsley, eggs and breadcrumbs. Combine until well mixed. Carefully fold in crabmeat.
2Cut halibut into 6 pieces, approximately 2 inches by 3 inches, season with salt and pepper. Divide crab mixture between pieces of fish. Using your hands, form the crab mixture into a mound on top of each fish fillet.
3Separate lettuce leaves. You will need four leaves per piece of fish. Select the largest and nicest 24 leaves, reserving rest of the leaves for later use.
4Wrap two lettuce leaves on each end of fish. Wrap two more leaves around the middle to create a bundle and secure with a toothpick. Place directly into a large skillet fitted with a tight fitting lid. Continue wrapping all pieces of fish. It is best to “crowd the pan,” this helps keep the fish together while cooking.
5Add vegetable broth to pan and cover with lid. Over high heat, bring broth to a boil, and then reduce heat to gently poach fish.
6Poach fish for 5-7 minutes depending on thickness, or when fish is opaque and cooked through. Remove fish from pan and place on plate to rest.
7Reduce remaining liquid in pan to 2-3 tablespoons and remove from heat.
8Pour reduced stock in a blender or food processor. Add the remaining parsley, basil, lemon juice, Dijon and garlic.
9Melt the remaining four tablespoons of butter and add to mixture. Pulse until sauce is well blended and smooth.
10Add all of the remaining lettuce leaves reserving two leaves for garnish. Pulse until lettuce is well incorporated. Taste for seasoning, add the remaining salt and pepper if needed.
11Transfer Lettuce Butter Sauce into a sauce pan over medium heat to warm, about 2-3 minutes.
12To serve, place a portion of Lettuce Butter Sauce on a serving plate. Cut lettuce wrapped fish bundles in half and place on sauce. Cut the remaining lettuce into thin strips and garnish fish.