Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lemon Feta Halibut with Roasted Corn Polenta

We moved into our house two and a half years ago. The back yard was ugly, to say the least. There was painted green cement everywhere, gravel, and some paving stones that were laid out in a design fit for the bottom of a swimming pool. We had maybe one or two nice flowers, but mostly the yard screamed "LOW MAINTENANCE"! At the time, we were preparing the house to welcome our daughter who was to be born in just a few months, so the yard was the least of our concern. But as she grew older, we started to want somewhere for her to play and we both hinted to each other our secret desire to grow our own fruits and vegetables. Hence, the backyard redo project was born. Andrew dug 40 tons of dirt (seriously, 40 tons of dirt) out of the back hill. We terraced with beautiful stone work, planted grass, and sectioned off an area for vegetables. The entire backyard was gutted, and we had a clean slate, except for our one lone lemon tree. It seemed an odd choice to keep as we had to redesign the retaining walls to go around it, but there was something special about this tree. Our aging neighbor begged us to keep it as apparently this is how he had been getting his quota of vitamin C! Another neighbor said she'd be heartbroken if we took that tree out as the woman who lived in our house before us used to bake delicious lemon bars which she shared with the whole street. So, we found ourselves struggling to give this tree up. Thankfully, we kept it, and it is now a highlight of the back yard. It's incredibly prolific, so we are always looking for 'lemon something' recipes. I came across this one and thought, "Great, I might be able to use up two whole lemons!" Regardless, it's worth a try. The flavors blend so well together, it's pretty easy to do, and it comes out looking oh so gourmet!

I used halibut, but any white fish would do. Also, the polenta expands, so use a big pot!

Serves 3-4 people

For the polenta:
1 Cup dry polenta
4 Cups organic low sodium vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 Cup feta cheese
1/4 Cup half and half
2 Ears of corn (use white corn if available)
1 Large onion, sliced thin
1/2 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
Handful of fresh chives, chopped
Salt and pepper

For the fish:
2 or 3 6 oz. pieces of halibut (or whatever is available near you)
1/4 Cup feta cheese
3 Tbsps. lowfat Greek yogurt (sour cream or mayo would work as well)
1/3 Cup chopped parsley, divided
1 Lemon, sliced very thin and a bit of juice
Fresh pepper
Turn on oven to 475 degrees.
1) Peel back the husk and silk of the corn and discard. Grill on the barbecue for ten minutes or so, rotating often. Remove to cool. Cut the kernels off.
2) Heat 1/2 tbsp. olive oil. Add sliced onion and saute over medium heat for 15 minutes or until brown in color. Turn off heat.
3) Prepare the fish topping. In a small bowl, combine the feta, yogurt, garlic salt, lots of pepper, little bit of lemon juice, and 2 tbsp of chopped parsley.
4) Coat a baking tray with cooking spray and put the fish skin side down onto the tray.
5) Season fish with a little salt and pepper. Then top with the feta-yogurt mixture. Lay a few thin pieces of lemon on top and drizzle with a little olive oil. Put in the top rack and keep an eye on it while you proceed with the polenta. Fish should take about 12-15 minutes, depending on thickness.
6) Continue with the polenta while fish is baking. Bring stock and half and half to a boil. (The first time I made this I forgot to put in the half and half and it still came out great, so feel free to delete if you want to save a few calories!) Slowly pour in the polenta and stir until it begins to thicken, 5-8 minutes. Take off the heat. Gently fold in the caramelized onions, grilled corn kernels, lemon juice, chives, and salt and pepper to taste. Lastly, fold in the 1/2 cup of feta cheese.
7) To serve, put a good portion of polenta on the plate and top with lemon fish and a sprinkle of parsley. Serve immediately. Excellent with a green salad on the side.

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