Seared Halibut with Ramen and Sweet/Sour Pickled Zucchini Slaw
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1 medium zucchini
1 tablespoon plum vinegar (or 2 tablespoons rice vinegar and 2 teaspoons kosher salt)
1 cup dashi broth (see below)
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped green onions, divided
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons grapeseed or peanut oil
2 pieces halibut (6 ounces each) center cut
1 package (3 ounces) dry ramen
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons lemon curd
1 2-inch square of giant kelp (konbu)
3 cups water
1 package (.1 ounce) dried bonito flakes
Using a mandoline, take off the zucchini's outer green layer of skin with the julienne attachment, or using knife, remove the skin in ⅛-inch strips and cut into julienne. Reserve core for other use. Toss julienne zucchini in bowl with plum vinegar; set aside.
Mix 1 cup dashi broth (see recipe below) with garlic, ginger, 2 tablespoons chopped onion, vinegar and soy sauce. Warm in small saucepan.
Season halibut with salt and pepper and dust with flour. Heat 10-inch skillet on medium high.
When hot add grapeseed oil and swirl to coat pan. Place halibut in hot pan, presentation side down; cook for 4 minutes before touching or moving fish. Turn fish, reduce heat to medium and continue cooking 4 to 5 minutes or until done.
Meanwhile cook ramen according to package. Drain cooked ramen and toss with sesame oil. Divide between two bowls and center ramen in bowl.
Add warmed broth to bowl and place cooked fish on top of noodles.
Drain julienned zucchini and mix well with lemon curd and place on top of fish. Garnish with remaining tablespoon of chopped green onion.
For the dashi broth: Place a 2-inch square of giant kelp (konbu) in a sauce pan with 3 cups cold water. Heat gently over medium meat until water reaches a simmer. Add 1 package (.1 ounce) dried bonito flakes, turn off heat and steep 1 minute. Strain though fine mesh stainer or cheesecloth and set aside.
Chef Thomas Leavitt, White Oak Gourmet, judge for rounds 1 and 2
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