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Basic Poached Halibut and Quinoa


I can just hear someone shouting “Oh, no, not quinoa again,” but this is really good. Serve with halibut poached in a court bouillon for a flavorful and healthy meal. 


Basic Poached Halibut

The Canadians developed a general rule of thumb for cooking fish – whole or filleted – no matter what the method used: measure the fish at the thickest part and allow 10 minutes per inch, or a fraction of the time for a fraction of an inch. If time is of the essence, fish can be poached in plain water, but this recipe is for a court bouillon, a flavored poaching liquid.


Combine all the ingredients except the fish in a stockpot with four cups water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to simmer for 30 minutes (uncovered).


Gently place the fish in the poaching liquid, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. (1 inch = 10 minutes; 1/2 inch = 5 minutes.)


The number of people served will depend on the variety of fish and the percentage of head and bone. Ask a good fish seller for guidance.

Quinoa with Celery and Mushrooms

I made this quinoa for friends who cannot eat onions or garlic. Looking around for a solution, I found that my freezer had two plastic containers of Boletus mushrooms that I had picked, cooked, and frozen in the summer. If – as is probable – fresh Boletus are not available, use another good mushroom. Even if you don’t forage as I do, you will find an expanding selection of flavorful mushrooms in shops – labeled “wild” only to differentiate them from regular mushrooms.


In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a boil over high heat.


Add the quinoa and diced celery. Return to a boil, and then reduce the heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 12-14 minutes. Stir in cooked mushrooms and reserved celery leaves (approximately 1/2 cup, chopped). Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Yields 7 cups. Don’t worry if this makes more than you need. My friends took home the leftovers, and so will yours.