SWEET MAINE SHRIMP–COATED HALIBUT CHORIZO, CRUSHED GARBANZO BEANS
DURING THE HEIGHT of the halibut season, the kitchen at Daniel sees some of the most amazing fish from the East and West Coasts. I even remember a halibut that weighed 90 pounds, with thick fillets and pristine white flesh. We have served a combination of halibut and sweet shrimp many different ways, but I particularly relish this delicate cooking method: The mousse covers the fillet, creating two layers of taste and texture, to which we add a dab of smokiness with a cream of paprika and chorizo. Whole shrimp and shrimp crackers offer depth and crunch.
Preheat a steam oven or stovetop steamer. In a chilled food processor fitted with a blade, combine the shrimp, flour, salt, pepper, and paprika and pulse until smooth. Line a flat surface with a 2-foot-square double layer of plastic wrap. Scrape the mixture into a 1-foot-long horizontal line in the center of the plastic wrap. Tightly roll the mixture in the plastic to form a 1-inch-diameter cylinder and tie off the ends. Steam for 1 hour, and then chill.
Fill one-third of a medium saucepan with canola oil and heat to 350°F. Remove the cylinder from the plastic and slice into at least twelve -inch-thick discs.
Fry the discs in a few batches, until lightly colored and crispy. Drain onto a paper towel–lined tray. Cool and store at room temperature in an airtight container.
For the Chorizo Cream Sauce
Place the chorizo in a medium sauté pan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring until its oil releases, about 4 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened and caramelized. Add the sachet, white wine, and vinegar and simmer until almost dry. Add the heavy cream and stock and simmer lightly for 20 minutes. Remove the sachet and transfer to a blender; puree until smooth. Pass through a fine-meshed sieve into a small bowl and, if needed, add extra chicken stock to adjust to a consistency that will lightly coat a spoon. Store, chilled.
For the Shrimp-Coated Halibut
Cut the halibut into four 4-ounce rectangular portions (approximately 6 × 1½ inches) and transfer to a shallow nonreactive dish. Evenly sprinkle the coarse salt and sugar over the fish on all sides and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Rinse the fish with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
Pick and reserve 16 perfect pieces of shrimp (2 ounces, total), leaving 8 ounces for mousse. Combine the remaining 8 ounces shrimp with the salt, egg white, and heavy cream in a food processor. Pulse until smooth to make a mousse. Pass the mousse through a fine-meshed drum sieve into a bowl set over ice. Divide the mousse onto the tops of the fish and spread with an offset spatula to make an even layer. Top each with 4 shrimp and gently press them so they settle into the mousse. Sprinkle with pepper. Cut four 7-inch squares of parchment paper and brush one side with butter. Wrap 1 square of paper, buttered side in, snugly around each portion of fish and transfer them to a baking sheet. Reserve, chilled.
For the Cippolini Onion Confit
Season the onions on both sides with salt and pepper. Transfer to a small saucepan with the bay leaf, thyme, and garlic and add enough oil to cover. Place over medium heat and heat until bubbles begin to surface. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 45 minutes, or until the onions are tender. Halve the onions through their centers, return to the oil, and reserve, kept warm.
For the Saffron Potatoes
In a small saucepan, submerge the potatoes in cold water and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and when cool enough to handle, peel the skin from the potatoes.
Cut the potatoes into at least eight ½-inch-thick slices or geometric shapes such as triangles or teardrops. Pour the chicken stock into a small saucepan with the garlic, thyme, bay leaf, saffron, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Add the potatoes, cover, remove from the heat, and set aside to infuse for 20 minutes. Keep warm.
For the Garbanzo Bean Fricassée
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and place a bowl of ice water on the side. Add the beans and boil for 30 seconds, then transfer to the ice water to chill. Peel the beans and transfer them to a cutting board. Roughly chop and transfer to a small sauté pan with a spoonful of the cippolini onion oil and the Thai basil leaves. Place over medium heat and toss until heated through. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm
Preheat the oven to 225°F. Transfer the fish to the oven and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the temperature reaches 130°F in the center. Transfer the chorizo sauce to a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until heated through. Carefully unwrap the fish from the paper and spoon chorizo sauce on top.
For each serving, place 1 portion of fish on the side of a warm dinner plate and spoon some garbanzo bean fricassée in a similar rectangular shape adjacent. Top the fricassée with 3 cippolini onion halves, 2 saffron potato slices, and 3 Thai basil leaf sprigs. Top the fish with 3 shrimp crackers and a few chili threads.