Photo by Leah Bradley.

This East Vancouver Chef’s Fresh Halibut and Corn Succotash Celebrates Summer

Strolling through farmers markets and Fisherman’s Wharf on a Saturday afternoon, chef Christopher Lam wanted to showcase some of his favourite summer ingredients. So the fourth-generation chef, who just launched his debut restaurant Straight and Marrow on Powell Street in East Vancouver, paired seasonal halibut with fresh peas, fava beans, corn, and tomatoes. He says he loves letting the ingredients speak for themselves, especially when they’re in season. “The flavours of this dish are clean and fresh. Nothing is overmanipulated or complicated.”

Halibut With Tomato Broth, Corn Succotash, and Sun-dried Tomato Almond Gremolata

Serves 4

Chef Christopher Lam. Photo by R.D. Cane.


(If fresh vegetables are not available, frozen are fine)

For the tomato broth:

½ onion

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

¼ cup white cooking wine

3 cups fish stock

2 tablespoons tomato paste

6 garlic cloves (minced)

½ small can of San Marzano tomatoes (other kinds of canned tomatoes work, as well)

1 lemon

Salt, to taste

For the corn succotash:

½ lb fresh fava beans in pod

½ lb fresh English peas

2 ears of fresh corn

1 red pepper

½ cup diced pork lardons (thick-cut bacon or pork belly)

½ cup chicken stock

Salt and pepper, to taste

For the sun-dried tomato and almond gremolata:

30 grams sliced almonds

30 grams sun-dried tomatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Salt and pepper, to taste

For the halibut:

4, 6-ounce portions of halibut

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

Salt and pepper

1 pint of cherry tomatoes, for garnish

Photo by Leah Bradley.


For the tomato broth:

Cut the onion into small dice; reserve half for later. In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat and sautée the onion until translucent. Add the cooking wine and cook for another 45 seconds. Add the fish stock, tomato paste, ⅔ of the minced garlic, and the canned tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a simmer making sure it never boils—general rule of thumb, never boil any soups or stocks. Season with salt and juice from half a lemon. Simmer for 30 minutes. Empty the contents of the pot into a blender (immersion blender works, as well) and blend until smooth. Pass the liquid through a fine strainer and set aside.

For the corn succotash:

Remove the fava beans and peas from the pods as well. Bring a pot of water to a boil to blanch the fava beans. Also have an ice bath prepared. Cook the shelled fava beans for 1 minute before transferring directly into the ice bath. Gently squeeze the beans out of their skins and set aside. Remove the corn from the cob, and cut the pepper into small dice and set aside.

In a sautée pan, start cooking the lardons until slightly brown and crispy. Add the remaining onion and the pepper then the corn, fava beans, and peas. Add the chicken stock and season with salt and pepper.

For the sun-dried tomato and almond gremolata:

Toast the almonds in the oven at 350°F in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake for 3-4 minutes checking every minute until they are golden brown. Immediately transfer to a bowl to stop cooking. Cut the sun-dried tomatoes into small strips and add to the bowl. Add remaining minced garlic, juice and zest from remaining ½ lemon juice (reserved from tomato broth), 1 tablespoon olive oil, and chopped parsley. Mix together, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

For the halibut:

Dry halibut with paper towels. This will ensure even browning of the fish. Season both sides of the fish with salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to a skillet (make sure the skillet is big enough for 4 portions as you don’t want to crowd the pan; this will make it impossible to sear), on medium-high heat. Add the fish in a single layer and sear it without moving the fish until ready to flip (3-4 minutes). Flip the fish over and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for another 2-4 minutes until its internal temperature is 130-135°F. (Tip: If you see the white albumen seeping out the sides of the fish, it’s getting overcooked so remove it.)

To assemble the dish, ladle a little bit of tomato broth in the bottom of a bowl, then place the corn succotash and the halibut on top. Spoon the gremolata on top of the fish and garnish with some cherry tomatoes or greens of your choice. I personally love sunflower shoots.

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Post Date:

August 17, 2020