Halibut cooked beetween fig tree leaves, figs roasted in fig leaf-infused olive oil, fig-Gewurztraminer jam, raw fig slices, tomato sauce, olives, preserved lemon rinds
If you can get big fig tree leaves, try (and adapt) this recipe, I guarantee that you won't regret it. This is a recipe inspired by the French chef Jean-François Piège. Piège proposes it, with a John Dory filet, in his brand new restaurant in the beautiful region of Lubéron, in Provence (Piège also has also a 2-star restaurant in Paris).
As I didn't have John Dory (alas! I love this fish as much as it is uggly), I made it with this beautiful halibut filet, which was also perfectly adapted to this recipe. You will also need figs (3 per serving), half a lemon (organic), a few olives, a (homemade) tomato sauce, and optionally, fig jam...
First of all, make a fig oil... easy to do: just a cup of olive oil and 2 small fig leaves that you let infuse in the oil at low temperature (burner #1) for 2 or 3 hours. You will obtain a flavored oil with the caracteristic coco nut-like odor and taste of the fig leaves. You won't use all the oil for the recipe, but you will need a minimum quantity to correctly infuse the leaves. The remaining oil will be fabulous in a (fig?) salad, and of course, the next time you will make this recipe as you will be hooked up!
Cut the lemon in wedges and (quick) preserve it in salted water.
Brush the filet, on both side (skin and meat), with the fig oil, ligthly salt and let rest while you gently roast the figs, cut in halves (just keep 1 half per serving for decoration), in a pan with a little bit of the fig oil and some herbs. Brush the fig leaves with the fig oil too.
Start grilling the filet directly on the BBQ*, at medium high, lid off, on the skin side, for 3/4 minutes. Meanwhile, place the leaves on the side (on a burner off / not exposed to the flame). Remove the filets (the skin will probably stick to the grill), and place each of them on a leaf and cover with a second leaf. Place the whole on a moderate heat (burner on low position on the gas BBQ) and cook like that for around 8 minutes, depending of the filet thickness, or till the fish takes a nice nacred color and a soft touch.
Serve the filets on the tomato sauce flavored with a little bit of fig oil. Place the oil-roasted figs and segments of preserved lemon around, as well as a few olives. I had some fig jam/chutney left from a previous dish, I diluted it with the fig oil, and served it as a condiment. Place a couple of raw fig slices on the fish, as well as one of the cooking leaf as a decoration (ftr, the burnt parts are delicious, like chips).
As you may have fig-ured it out, this was DELICIOUS!!! The leaves protect the fish from the flame and allow a perfect cooking, while conveying their subtle and fantastic flavor, which of course perfectly matches the figs served as a side... and the Alsace's Gewurztraminer served with it.
* Here, a gas BBQ, but it obviously works with a charcoal BBQ. It is even better.