Looking at this first photo you may be surprised to see the recipe below. I just preferred to take a picture of a pear instead of a fish. First, I am not a great amateur of fish. Second, I don't find them too photogenic. I eat fish from time to time and I know that they are very healthy but I also understand and respect that some people (like my sister or my son) may not like them at all. In general, and especially in such an international and diverse environment as Washington D.C., it is wise to be aware that people may not wish to eat what you may wish to serve them.
A friend of mine, who introduced me to many culinary secrets, taught me this good host rule: "Whenever you invite people for dinner, always ask them about their dietary preferences". Then she illustrated this with a story how she invited her husband's boss for a dinner, and even though she was vaguely informed that her guest would not eat meat, she did not foresee how the evening would turn out. She prepared a wonderful Portuguese dinner based on seafood and fish, called Arroz de Mariscos, which was always well-liked by her vegetarian guests. Unfortunately it turned out that that night her guest was a vegan. And since rice was cooked together with the seafood he did not eat it at all. Neither did he drink wine, even though one of the best South African selections was served, nor eat dairy, so a plate of the best cheese that you could buy in Geneva, and a Vacherin dessert--meringues with crème fraiche--were left untouched. It is still not clear to me though who made a bigger mistake, she by not being more inquisitive, or he by making her very uncomfortable despite her best efforts.
Time to come back to the recipe itself. I still see beautiful pears on the shelves of many local food stores. They preserve well during our long winter and could be used in a variety of ways. This is probably one of the lightest versions of a fish dish that you can find. Both fish and pear are low in calories and there is no cream or heavy sauce and not much oil in this recipe. Since it is a very simple dish, I like to use a quality fish like halibut or sole to make it. For a better visual contrast, and to add some texture to the meal, I like to serve it with a black rice or a six grain Kagayaki rice.
Halibut in Pear Sauce
4 pieces of halibut or sole fillets,
2 soft pears,
1 tbsp lemon juice,
1 tsp red pepper (optional)
3-4 tbsp olive oil (for frying),
2 tbsp butter.
1. Sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper.
2. Peel off the pears, remove seeds, cut into quarters and then into small cubes.
3. Melt butter on a pan, add the pears and fry them for about 3 minutes. Add lemon juice, mix and keep it warm on a very low heat while preparing fish.
4. Heat the oil on a large frying pan. Fry the fish fillets in it for about 3-5 minutes on each side or until they turn light gold.
5. Transfer the fried fillets to the plates, pour over pear sauce. Sprinkle with red pepper, and serve with rice.