He is tall, dark, handsome and will have you licking your lips at first glance. He is good company on a cold dark Winters night. He doesn’t talk much but is an amazing listener. If he is hurried, he gets all foamy and weird so best to take your time with him. He satisfies in the most refreshing, yet decadent way possible. They say he is good for you. I say he is the perfect date when I am making my Winter halibut dish called “Dragon Fish”. So, I invited him over.
There is a bar in Kinsale, Ireland called The Spaniard. It could be said that it is my favorite bar that I have ever been in. Maybe it was because of the locals who were all singing Irish folk songs all nite. Maybe it was the dark panelled wood and the heat coming from the fireplace. Maybe it was that satisfying glass of Murphys, I was drinking. Murphys is S. Ireland’s Guinness. I guess it was all of the above, creating a few magical nights lost in lore, lyrics and lots of beer 😉 Today’s weather (cold, windy and grey) had me longing for the Spaniard. Set up on top of the village it overlooks the harbour, welcoming home the weary sailors and fishermen with a pint and a piping hot fish pie. I craved both today.
Tall Dark and Handsome is a great way to re-design your house for the Winter as well. Dark grey & black nobby wool blankets and pillow on the sofa and bed. Faux fur throws over your dining room chairs make for cozy dinners. Paint a wall in chalkboard paint and write your favorite quotes, resolutions or inspirations on it as we wait for Spring. Replace soft linen lamp shades with black ones and take the wattage down for a subtle glow. Small accents like black frames, black light switch covers and black kitchen towels/rugs bring gravity and warmth into your home during the long Winter months. I love decorating with black and there is no better time of the year to do so than now.
All that decorating is going to kick up your appetite, so what better than a healthy meaty fish dinner? Fish is not just for Summer. Just ask all those hungry Irish folks lining up in the dead of Winter for the Spaniards fish pies. I should have called this recipe The Spaniard, in my book, b/c it’s exactly the dish that is best served with a pint. I called it Dragon Fish. That’s a bit about lore and lyrics too I guess. (Stretch).
1 lb Halibut (meaty white fish)
1 lb. Mussels (washed & debearded)
1 tsp Turmeric
1 Tsp. Star Anise Seeds
1 Tsp. Chinese Five Spice
1 Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
1 Tsp. Ground Ginger
1 Tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Yellow Onion
1 Cup Chopped Tomatoes (or 1 can)
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Cup White Wine
2 Tbsp. Mango Chutney
1 Can Coconut Milk
Rinse the halibut and pat dry with paper towel. In a small bowl mix the turmeric, star anise, chinese five spice, ginger, red pepper and cinnamon. Combine well. This is a dry rub. You can make extra and keep handy. Completely cover both sides of the fish in the dry rub.
In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add a bit of the dry rub to the hot pan and then add the halibut. Sear on each side for 30 seconds and then add the wine. Let the wine cook down for about 2-3 minutes, then add the coconut milk and chutney. Then it mix all in and then spoon over the fish a few times. Cover the pan and cook until the fish begins to pull apart (approx. 10-12 minutes).
When 5 minutes away from being done, add the fresh mussels to the pan and cover. They will steam open adding more juice to your coconut milk spicy sauce! MMM.
Serve the fish in bowls with some mussels and a big spoonful of that delicious sauce! Season with fresh cracked black pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes for an extra kick.
Don’t forget the Guinness. Cheers! Stay warm and cozy out there ya’ll!