4 pounds wild Pacific halibut fillet, skin on
1 pound applewood-smoked bacon, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and white pepper
8 ounces fennel
8 ounces leeks
6 cloves garlic
4 cups chicken stock
3 sprigs thyme
ounce annatto seeds
2 cups cream
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons black peppercorns, toasted and crushed
Heat oven to 475 degrees.
Skin, debone and cut the halibut into 5-ounce portions. Season fleshy side of fish with salt and white pepper and fold in half.
Wrap the bacon around the halibut to hold the tournedos together. Dredge in flour.
In an oven-proof saute pan over high heat, sear the bacon edges. Flip halibut onto presentation side and transfer to hot oven. Cook 4 minutes than flip and cook 4 more.
For the sauce: Heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Roughly chop the fennel, leeks, garlic and shallots and add to pan. Cook until tender. Add the brandy, stirring up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan and cooking until most of the brandy is gone. Alternately, you can remove the pot from the heat and flame the brandy.
Add chicken stock, thyme and annatto seeds and cook until reduced by half. Strain sauce, discarding solids.
Heat the cream gently and add strained stock to the pot. Cook until reduced to 2 cups, or by half. Stir in mustard and season to taste with salt. Do not allow sauce to boil or the mustard will go bitter and the sauce will break.
To serve: Spoon sauce onto eight plates; put tournedos slightly off center. Serve with watergress salad.
Brian Schreiber, Kendall College, Chicago