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How to Cook with Your Spouse: Halibut on Minted Fava Bean and Pea Puree

May 11th, 2011

Do you cook with your spouse? Although Matt is officially ‘the music guy’ in our household, he is no stranger to the kitchen. In fact, he and I are often working side by side in our narrow kitchen. Like staff in a professional kitchen, we sneak behind each other saying “On your right with a hot pan” and “sneaking around you with a sharp knife.” We’ve developed a well-choreographed routine. We know each other’s kitchen habits.

Matt is the chopper (I can never chop herbs and garlic and finely as he can) and the carver (my carving skills need work). He’s towers over me (at 6’4) so he’s no small sidekick in the kitchen. Therefore, I’m often the one sneaking behind him, reaching under him and generally trying to avoid getting hit. It’s a rough life, apartment dwelling.

Matt is the meat/fish/chicken plater. He tends to be the one doing the searing and when I’ve plated our veggies and sides, he puts the protein on top. He’s usually very careful and artistic but some days, well, there’s just not enough room for two cooks in the kitchen.

A beautiful piece of fish we recently cooked went THUMP right on the kitchen floor. He was so ticked (and I was so startled by his expletive scream) that we became convinced that this meal was not only going into the trash, but was completely unsalvageable. Lo and behold, we examined the fish, tossed the sides that were not editable, threw it back in the pan and proceeded with the recipe (don’t judge). The end result? Spot on. I’ve never made fish with mint before but now I may be addicted. A mix of Spring’s beautiful fava beans, peas, olive oil, mint and red chili flakes created a fabulous bed of puree that I could have devoured all on its own.

So tell me, how do you cook with your spouse? Do you knock elbows with each other? Do you take turns? Is there something he/she does better than you in the kitchen, and vice versa?

Halibut on Minted Fava Bean and Pea Puree
adapted from Bon Appetit
serves 2

2 5-ounce halibut fillets with skin on
1 pound of fresh fava beans in their pods
1/2 cup of fresh or frozen shelled peas
2 teaspoons, plus 2 tablespoons of fresh, chopped mint
2 teaspoons of grated lemon zest
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
extra virgin olive oil
flour (for dredging the fish)

1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, remove the beans from their pods and transfer them to the pot of boiling water. Cook for about 2 minutes, then drain. Gently peel the outer layer of the fava beans and toss the peels. Set aside.
2. Mix two teaspoons of mint, 1 teaspoon of freshly grated lemon peel, a pinch of red pepper flakes and salt (to taste) in a small bowl. Rub the fish with the mixture and set aside.
3. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet and toss in the fava beans and peas. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch or two of red pepper. Add a tablespoon or two or water and cook, stirring, for a few minutes, before transfering to a food processor. Add in 2 tablespoons of mint, a teaspoon of grated lemon zest, and a tablespoon of olive oil. Whiz to puree. If it’s too dry, add a a little bit of water. Set aside while you cook the fish.
4. Flour the fish on both sides, shaking off excess flour. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cook the fish, flipping once or twice, until lightly browned and cooked through (it should be completely white inside and flake easily).
5. Divide the puree between two plates and top with the fish.

Musical Pairings: The Miracles – Greatest Hits From The Beginning + Halibut on Minted Fava Bean and Pea Puree

Head to the Turntable for today’s Pairing.

  • Janet

    Kasey, this looks so amazing! I love, love fava beans and peas, and always want to eat more fish. I need to make this immediately.

  • Kasey

    Thanks, Janet! They’re my favorite ‘greens’ of Spring – well, and, asparagus (which I also love).

  • Liren

    You guys are so cute! I can just picture the kitchen choreography. My hubs and I sometimes do cook together, but most often when he likes to take charge of the outdoor cooking/grilling and I take care of the indoor prep. Either way, we still need to watch stepping over each other or bumping into one another! LOVE the recipe, there’s nothing like springtime!

  • Janet

    Me too! I have been eating an asparagus and zucchini frittata all week. Next up: asparagus and peas!

  • nicole

    Look at that perfect sear! The puree is so pretty, too. I do not judge you for proceeding with the beautiful piece of fish. Wasting food is not fun and ruining dinner is even worse. Marc is great at the grill and a fine mixologist. We make a pretty good pair :)

  • Kasey

    Thanks, Nicole! I appreciate you not judging ;) Isn’t it great to have a hubby who complements you?? Would love to see some of his drink concoctions on your site!

  • Kasey

    Aww, you are too sweet, Liren. That’s funny – that’s how my parents break up cooking duties, too (my mom does all of the ‘indoor’ prep while my dad does whatever needs to be tended to on the grill). We don’t have a backyard, yet, but someday!

  • Hannah Eve Simon

    My boyfriend, Jeff, definitely has more of an aesthetic eye. He’s the one who taught me the importance of plating food… consequently, I have become obsessed with taking pictures of the meals he prepares. I take part in meal planning, but then do small stuff like prepare the salad (but not the salad dressing — that’s his specialty), chop garlic, read measurements for the recipe out loud, etc. Jeff’s the teacher, and I’m the student. Unless we’re talking dessert, and then that’s a whole different ballgame….

  • Kimberley

    I love teamwork in the kitchen. Even more, I love making the best of tiny kitchens. AND why have I never made pea puree? It’s happening this month!

  • Kasey

    Thanks for sharing, Hannah! I love how you point out that salad dressing is his specialty ;)

  • Kasey

    I love teamwork, too! I love having friends over for a cooking night, too. There’s something so personal about rolling up your sleeves with someone you care for. And yes, pea puree…perfect Springtime treat.

  • frauhaselmayer

    Love the plate!

  • Kasey

    Thank you! I love that one, too.