Here the fish could be served in large wedges that are cut through the bone or in fillets; both look great. The fish is grilled skin-side down so that it is marked and crispy, then roasted in the oven over potato and lemon wedges to lock in all the flavors and juices. The rosemary or bay leaf is bright green and highly perfumed, but if you wish you could also add some fennel slices for an extra kick of anise.
-Bart Van Olphen & Tom Kine, co-authors of Fish Tales.
For the preserved lemons
3 heaping tablespoons of sea salt
olive oil, for preserving
small bunch of rosemary, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
20 medium-sized potatoes, scrubbed
1 preserved lemon (see above), cut into 12 to 16 wedges
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for cooking
freshly ground black pepper
6 halibut slices on the bone, weighing about 8 to 10oz each
juice of 1 lemon
leaves from 3 sprigs of fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
First make the preserved lemons. Place the lemons in a small pan in which they fit tightly and cover with cold water. Add the sea salt it takes the bitterness out of the lemon skin. Bring the water to a boil and simmer until the lemons are soft when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Remove from the hot water and refresh under cold running water. Transfer the lemons to a sterilized jar (reserve one for this recipe) and cover with olive oil; they will keep, covered, in the fridge for up to 6 weeks.
Preheat the oven to 450F. Place the rosemary in a pestle and mortar with the salt. Grind until you have a green-colored salt, then remove the stems, leaving a pale green fine salt.
Cut each potato into three even sized chunks. Mix with the lemon wedges and olive oil and season well with pepper and half of the rosemary salt. Spread the herbed potatoes and lemon mix in one layer in a large roasting pan. Roast for about 35 minutes, turning a few times so that they begin to brown.
Preheat a griddle pan. Oil the fish on both sides and season with pepper and the remaining rosemary salt. When the griddle pan is really hot, grill the fish for 2 minutes on one side until the skin is beginning to crisp. Carefully turn the fish over and cook for another 2 minutes.
Gently remove the fish from the griddle pan and lay it on top of the roasting potatoes. Return the roasting pan to the oven and bake for 10 minutes until the fish is cooked and the potatoes are browned. When the fish is cooked, add the lemon juice and the parsley. You could make some green salsa or another fresh green herb sauce with the fish and potatoes (see page 29).
TIP This flavored salt will keep for about a week in an airtight jar; it is good with roast meat as well as fish and potatoes. You could make a similar salt using fresh bay leaves instead of rosemary.
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