Thursday, August 6, 2009

Broiled Halibut with Red Huckleberry Compote

What the heck is a compote anyway? I dunno exactly, but I made one with these beautiful red huckleberries foraged not too far from home in a park loaded with hikers who pass these bushes by in numbers that must make the poor huckleberries think they suffer from an extreme case of cooties.

Because they're more tart (tarter?) than most other species of huckleberry, red hucks are good candidates for jam or sauce. Plus, they look terrific atop a cut of meat or fillet of fish. Probably the most enduring way to enjoy huckleberry sauce (or compote) is with a game bird or pork loin, but don't write off the "fibbies," as my daughter calls them. Last year I made a somewhat different sauce for rockfish; this time I aimed for something a little chunkier. It's a sweet sauce, so depending on your tolerance for sugar, you may want to adjust.

1 1/2 cups red huckleberries
1/4 cup port
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp balsamic
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp lemon juice
4 6-8 oz halibut fillets (or other white flakey fish)

1. In a saucepan bring ingredients to a boil over medium heat, lower heat, and reduce until syrupy. Keep warm until ready to serve. Makes enough sauce for 4 servings.

2. Slice halibut fillet into serving portions and arrange on a greased broiling pan. Season with salt and pepper, brush on melted butter, and drizzle with lemon juice. Broil 4 to 6 inches from burner, about 10 minutes per inch of fillet thickness.


Ciao Chow Linda said...

That looks mighty delicious. I had a friend give me some huckleberries once but there were so many little things to clean off of them I got discouraged and never used them.

Peabody said...

Interesting. I have never even seen a red huckleberry.

Hunter Angler Gardener Cook said...

Hmmm... My first thought is partridge, as you mentioned, but if I were to use that sauce with fish, I'd go for mackerel or, better yet, bluefish. Oily, rich fish might do better with such a powerful sauce. Try it with those pinks you're catching now -- bet it's good!

Oh, and a compote is a warmed maceration of something in something -- like a look preserve, an unjelled, uncrushed jam, or an extended marination. It's typically served at room temp, although the heating brings out the flavors.

Anonymous said...

My daughter and I just returned from a three hour hike foraging red huckleberries near our home on the north coast of CA. They're beautiful! I can't wait to try this recipe it sounds great. Thanks, Ala

Holly Carter said...

Thank you so much for this recipe. My children and I gathered red huckleberries from the woods around our property today. We made your compote and served it with tilapia. _Oh_my_goodness_... it was the best thing I'd tasted in a VERY long time. My husband says, "restaurant quality!"... and he eats in lots of restaurants when traveling in europe on business.
Thanks again!