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Hazelnut-Crusted Halibut with Artichokes and Papaya

Hazelnut-Crusted Halibut with Artichokes and Papaya

From: Chef Gary Robins, The Biltmore Room, NYC. Yield: 4 servings.

1 Hawaiian papaya, peeled and seeded
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. dried habanero powder (optional)
3 Tbsp. lime juice
7 mint leaves, chopped
6 baby artichokes
3 sunchokes, peeled
1 large leek
6 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh basil (or dill)
1/4 cup flour
3 oz. blanched hazelnuts
1 egg
1/4 cup water
4 6-oz. halibut fillets

Cut the papaya into large dice and season with sugar and habanero powder. Mix in lime juice and mint leaves, then set aside at room temperature.

Trim outer leaves from artichokes, cut 1/2" off the tops, pare down stems, and cut each into quarters (if they are small) or sixths (if they are large). Wash sunchokes and cut each into 1/2" pieces. Trim leek of its stem and dark green leaves, cut in half lengthwise and cut each half into 3/4" pieces. Wash leek slices in cold water to remove any grit. Drain and reserve.

Warm 3 Tbsp. olive oil in large saute pan and add artichokes. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes, then add sunchokes and leeks. Season with more salt and saute for 2 minutes, then add white wine. Bring just to a boil, reduce flame to low and simmer until vegetables are tender. Whisk in 2 Tbsp. butter, toss in basil, then keep warm.

Place flour on a flat plate slightly larger than size of the filets. Finely chop the hazelnuts and set them aside on separate plate the same size as the one with the flour. Whisk together egg and water. Dredge skinless side of each halibut fillet in flour and pat off any excess. Lightly brush floured surface with egg wash and dip it into crushed hazelnuts. Lay fillets hazelnut side up on a plate. Warm remaining olive oil in a large saute pan over high heat and season fish with salt and pepper. Place halibut fillets crusted side down into the pan, reduce heat to medium and cook until nuts are golden brown, 4-6 minutes. Turn fish over, add 2 Tbsp. butter and cook for another minute, or until the fish is medium-well done. Remove from pan and serve accompanied by the sauteed artichokes and papaya salsa.