Last night I threw some halibut on the grill (Grill Three, under the secret headquarters’ open-air rifle turret) for a special occasion (none of your business) and prepared a butter consisting of chipotle and lime. Normally I’ll just make a red wine butter reduction but certain foods, when said together in a sentence, suggest a culinary awesomeness that I cannot resist. Chipotle-honey is another such combo, as is vodka-cranberry.
A word about Pacific Halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis). It lives primarily in the North Pacific, idling away its days in the Bering sea. It’s the largest member of the flounder family, but much more of a steak than the lifeless trash fish which we associate with the flounder. Think of the difference between Bill and Roger Clinton. Halibut grills around the same time as one of the more slender members of the salmon family, like sockeye, but doesn’t quite have the obvious fat content. You go more than 10 minutes total on the grill and you’re eating heated newspaper.
Halibut are most enjoyable if you wrestle one out of the water yourself, or barring that, steal one from Aquaman.
The butter recipe also had the typical ingredients you’d expect in a Latin-style preparation: cilantro, garlic, salt. No surprises, just a little sadness that yet another giant sprig of cilantro will be thrown out because the recipe only required a tablespoon, as is usually the case, and we can’t all walk around all day stuffing spare cilantro in our mouths like so many Italian heifers. I’ve been talking to some people about genetically altering cilantro so that it grows in individual, prewrapped tablespoon servings but for some reason this isn’t commercially viable.
Did you know that ground coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant? I cannot get over this.
Lastly we must address the chipotle, which is a smoked jalapeño that often comes in a can, marinating in Adobe sauce. It would be the same level of heat as a normal jalapeño – one that’s been grown in a garden over a Hellmouth. If you were to mix the chipotle into the butter without washing off some of the Adobe sauce it would melt your skull. I’m not kidding. Should your skull start melting, Poison Control recommends that you imbibe “a shit ton of beer, preferably stout.”
Final thoughts: the lime chipotle butter is nice combination, since the fat in the butter cuts the heat of the chipotle. But there isn’t nearly enough lime in the stated preparation to merit top billing, and leaves you disappointed, as if you’d gone to see the latest Simon and Garfunkel reunion and Paul Simon only performed one song.