This recipe is as close as you can get to capturing spring in a skillet. It is so full of brilliant color, you practically need sunglasses to eat it.
The dish gets its radiance from the field green of asparagus and peas, pops of pink radish and celebratory ribbons of carrot. Nestled into that garden of produce are fillets of white, flaky fish (halibut, cod or similar firm fish all work) made golden with a quick sear in a hot pan to start.
The vegetables and fish finish cooking together in a lemony, white wine pan sauce, which is enriched with a dab of butter and is made right in the same skillet. A generous shower of tender herbs adds a fresh grassy perfume. I used parsley and dill, but basil and/or mint would be nice, too.
It’s a meal that made, start to finish, in about half an hour, and eating it feels a lot like a walk in the park on a perfect spring day: restorative, uplifting and fulfilling.
Halibut and Spring Vegetable Skillet
4 (4- to 5-ounce) skinless, center-cut halibut filets (may substitute with cod)
¼ teaspoon plus ⅛ teaspoon salt, divided, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ large sweet onion (6 ounces), thinly sliced
1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound), woody ends trimmed, cut on the bias into 2-inch pieces
1 large carrot (5 ounces) peeled, then cut into wide ribbons using a vegetable peeler
4 small red radishes, quartered
⅓ cup dry white wine (may substitute with ¼ cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice)
¼ cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, or water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ cup tender fresh or frozen peas
4 teaspoons chopped fresh dill, for garnish
4 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Pat the halibut as dry as possible with a paper or kitchen towel, then season the top with ⅛ teaspoon of each salt and pepper.
In a large nonstick skillet over high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Place the halibut in the skillet, top side down. It may sputter, so stand back a bit. Cook the fish without moving it until browned, about 2 minutes. Using a large spatula, transfer the fish to a plate.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion to the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 2 minutes. Then stir the asparagus, carrot, radishes and the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt and ⅛ teaspoon of pepper and cook until the vegetables have softened slightly, about 1 minute.
Add the wine, increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the wine is reduced by about half, about 4 minutes. Add the broth or water, lemon juice and butter and cook, stirring, until the butter has melted, about 1 minute.
Return the fish to the pan, cooked side up, nestling it into the vegetables. Cook for 2 minutes, basting the fish occasionally with the sauce. Then stir in the peas, and cook until the fish flakes easily with a fork and the vegetables are firm-tender, 1 to 2 minutes more. Taste, and season with additional salt, pepper and/or lemon juice, if desired.
Divide the fish and the vegetables among four shallow bowls or plates, top with the chopped dill and parsley and serve.
Yield: 4 servings