Thursday, February 17, 2011

White House Recipes: Pan Roasted Rockfish With Artichoke Barigoule, Winter Garden Salad

First Lady Michelle Obama began the celebration of the one year anniversary of the Let's Move! campaign last week with a luncheon for the print reporters who cover her every move, and below are the recipes for two of the delicious dishes that were served. The three-course luncheon was healthy and savory, with Fresh Pan Roasted Rockfish with Artichoke Barigoule and Pearl Onions as the centerpiece (the full luncheon menu is here). The starter was White House Winter Garden Salad with a Honey Vinaigrette.

The onions and herbs accompanying the Rockfish and the greens in the salad were from the Kitchen Garden, and honey from the White House Bee Hive was used for the salad dressing. Dessert was a tiny Key Lime tart, surrounded by other sweets on the plate. Click here for the recipe in pie form. (Above: The First Lady speaking at the luncheon)

Mrs. Obama has put the spotlight on local sourcing for foods, and Rockfish is from the Chesapeake Bay in nearby Maryland. It's a firm-fleshed white fish, and when creating the recipe, you can substitute a similar white fish from your area. While a little technical with the deglazing required for the Barigoule, the recipes are well within the skills of home cooks; ObFo tested it, as did acclaimed foodwriter Marion Burros, who was also at the luncheon. Burros is a spectacular cook; your blogger is a pro at pastry, and less skilled at dinner. But if ObFo can make this, any home cook can.

But it requires a bit of pre-prep time for all the vegetables. Begin with the Barigoule and Pearl Onions, and cook the fish when you're almost done, and you'll be fine. The Barigoule can be made ahead of time, and rewarmed, too. The wine served at the luncheon was Hestan Chardonnay "San Francisco Bay" 2007 from Napa Valley, California.

Fresh Pan Roasted Rockfish
with Artichoke Barigoule and Pearl Onions

Pearl Onions

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
18 fresh or frozen pearl onions
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 cloves garlic
Leaves from 4 sprigs thyme
1 cup water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Sauté the onions in butter, sugar, garlic, and thyme.

2. As the onions become brown, deglaze with about ¼ cup of water at a time. Repeat until onions are golden and tender.

Artichoke Barigoule

½ cup extra virgin olive oil
6 artichoke hearts cut in large dice
2 carrots, thinly diced
2 shallots, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
Leaves from 4 sprigs thyme
1 cup white wine
4 Tablespoons minced parsley
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Sauté artichokes, carrots, shallots, celery, garlic, and thyme in hot olive oil until golden, 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the artichokes.

2. Deglaze pan with white wine; reduce heat and simmer until tender and liquid has been reduced to sauce consistency.

3. Squeeze on lemon juice and sprinkle with parsley.

*To make ahead of time, prepare through Step 2, then refrigerate. Warm in microwave or oven, and continue with Step 3 to serve.

Pan Roasted Rockfish

3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 4-ounce Rockfish (or other fish) fillets, skin removed
3 Tablespoons thyme leaves

1. Place pan over burner and heat until very hot.

2. Add oil and let heat for a minute, but until below smoking point.

3. Sear fish on both sides until golden brown and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes each side, depending on thickness of fillets.

To assemble the plate: Spoon artichoke mixture onto center of the plate. Place seared fish on top of artichokes. Arrange onions around fish. Serves four.

The First Lady's 1,500 square foot Kitchen Garden grows crops through all four seasons, thanks to protective Hoop Houses that use solar energy to keep the soil warm. The garden is currently growing all kinds of winter greens, including spinach, mizuna, and arugula, as well as herbs. For the salad at the luncheon, pickled "last summer peppers" were used; the White House chefs are pickling enthusiasts, and jars of pickled Kitchen Garden vegetables were included in the diplomatic gift baskets Mrs. Obama presented to her guests when she hosted a luncheon last Fall for UN spouses at Chef Dan Barber's Blue Hill restaurant at Stone Barns Center for Food And Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York. The recipe for White House Kitchen Garden pickles is here.

The recipe, below, uses grilled sweet onions instead of pickled peppers.

White House Winter Garden Salad

Honey Herb Vinaigrette

½ cup + 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup champagne vinegar
2 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh herb leaves (thyme, rosemary, oregano)
1 minced shallot
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Whisk together all ingredients but the olive oil.

2. Slowly whisk in olive oil to create an emulsion.

*Dressing can be made a day ahead, adding the herbs at the last minute and whisking again.

Grilled Sweet Onions

1 large Vidalia or other sweet onion, cut into rounds less than ¼-inch thick
1 or 2 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Coat the onion with oil and season with salt and pepper.

2. Cook on stovetop or outdoor grill until charred and soft.

*Onion can be prepared a day ahead, refrigerated, and warmed in the microwave before serving.

Winter Garden Salad

6–8 ounces mixed winter greens (such as lettuce, arugula, mizuna), washed, stemmed, and dried
3 ounces feta cheese, cut into small cubes
Herb vinaigrette dressing (see above)
Grilled onion (see above)

1. Lightly dress the greens with the vinaigrette, and place on plates.

2. Arrange a few onion rings around the salad.

3. Place feta cubes in center of the rings.

*Makes six ample servings

*Photos by Chuck Kennedy/White House