Friday, May 25, 2012

(Not) just for the halibut

my fisherman in his 'office' 
When I moved to Homer (Halibut Capital of the World!) 27 years ago, I had never heard of halibut before. People come here from all over to fish for this coveted flat bottom fish. I was clueless to this, growing up in Michigan we ate lake fish, the only alaskan thing that came close to my plate was the king crab we splurged on for special occasions. Hanging out here that first summer, I quickly learned more about this than I ever could have imagined. Back in those days, halibut was harvested in a series of derby-style openings in spring and fall. The dates were set the season before according to the best tides with no adjustments for weather, so when the day came it was a free for all. Whoever could make the best of all the variables would prevail and those that didn't lost gear, their chance for needed spring income and sometimes their lives. All the gory, stinky details would be hashed out at the Salty Dawg for days afterward. Working at the end of the spit at Lands End Resort, I had a front row seat to every opening, it was so exciting to stand on the porch watching the boats race out of the harbor and to see who came back first with a full hold. If the boat was riding low, you could guess they'd gotten their fish. My romance with a deckhand only heightened the sense of excitement for me. Watching for the boat he fished on, I could tell if it was the F/V Anna Lane by the sound of the engines. When I spotted them I would run down to the beach as they motored by, it was all very romantical. These days, the fishery has been rationalized and halibut has it's own season, the boats can fish their quota when the weather and the tides are favorable. It is a better system for the fisherman and the fish, though with quite a bit less drama. As it happened, I married my fisherman and while I no longer run to the beach when the boat rounds the corner, it's still exciting when he comes home with the spoils of his efforts. Usually their catch is bought by a processor who offloads the fish to one big buyer, so there is no chance for me to score a bit for the bakery, but this trip they sold to one of our favorite fish purveyors (Thank You, Heather and Angelina the The Auction Block) and they were able to save me a fish! So, for the first time ever I am serving the fish my husband caught.
It's locavore dining at it's very best:

Halibut pinwheels with herb stuffing, wrapped with proscuitto and served over isreali cous cous
with lemon ginger buerre blanc and basil caviar

For more locavore love, the Homer Farmers Market starts this week!