Spring has a lot going for it. Flowers, open windows, and longer daylight hours are a few bonuses. Two more are fresh halibut and fava beans. The fava beans make you work for their delightfulness, but that’s balanced out by how simple it is to sear some halibut. I’ve mentioned before how much I like the book Sunday Suppers at Lucques and the way it’s divided into chapters according to seasons. The spring chapter might be my favorite, and that’s where I found this dish. It couldn’t be more of spring if it tried. The meyer lemon salsa with the creme fraiche flavored with savory was just the right lively touch to top the potatoes, favas, and fish. And, there were pea shoots. Suzanne Goin seems to like pea shoots in the springtime because they appear in several recipes in this chapter, but they’re delicious and crisp and fresh and work well in each case. I was worried that I might have to make some substitutions for this dish because I don’t usually see the herb savory or pea shoots in local grocery stores, and I wasn’t sure if favas would be available yet, but I knew that halibut was ready and waiting. Luck was on my side, and after only searching at two stores, I found everything I needed.
The meyer lemon salsa can be made in advance, and I got to use two of the last lemons on my tree. One lemon was zested for the fish, and then both were peeled and supremed and the juice was collected. The lemon juice was combined with minced shallots and salt, and then olive oil was whisked into it. Chopped savory, mint, and parsley were added along with the lemon segments. Also, the creme fraiche was prepared in advance, and that only involved stirring chopped savory leaves, salt, and pepper into some creme fraiche. The halibut was marinated with lemon zest, thyme, and parsley and left in the refrigerator for a few hours. Then, it was time to address the fava beans. Removing them from their pods is no big deal. The trouble starts when you have to blanch the beans and then remove each and every bean from its skin. There’s no way around it, you just have to skin each one, but since Kurt helped, the task was completed in record time. Up next, fingerling potatoes were par-boiled, allowed to cool slightly, and gently smashed. The potatoes were then warmed in a skillet with melted butter, and then the favas and pea shoots were added to that skillet. Meanwhile, the halibut was simply seared in olive oil for a few minutes on each side.
The dish was plated with potatoes, favas, and pea shoots topped with creme fraiche and meyer lemon salsa, then came the halibut and more creme fraiche and salsa. The creme fraiche added a touch of richness to the light fish and vegetables and the salsa worked perfectly with each part of the dish. I’m embarrassed at how quickly my plate became empty, but with these fabulous, fleeting spring flavors brought together so nicely, it couldn’t be helped.