An Ode to Bob (And My Mom)
April 23, 2008
Mine is a family who likes to tease. And, when it comes to my mom, my sister and I can be a wee bit relentless. But we kid out of love, I assure you. For instance, we like to tease my mom when she sometimes inadvertently reenacts a scene from the movie What About Bob. Have you seen What About Bob? If not, close your browser, shut down your computer, and proceed to the nearest Blockbuster. Seriously. If you have seen it: so good, right? And, do you remember that scene where Bob (Bill Murray) wins himself a dinner invitation at Dr. Leo Marvin’s (Richard Dreyfuss’) vacation home? And Dr. Marvin’s wife, Fay, cooks up a feast, which is apparently the most delicious thing that Bob has ever eaten? Which leads Bob to dissolve into incessant “mmm’s” and “Fay! Fay! Fay!’s,” to the extent that Bob’s swoon eclipses the entire dinner?
Well, when my mom really loves something she’s eating, she has a habit of being very Bob: lots of oohing and ahhing. My sister and I of course treat this rather endearing habit with merciless ribbing. Clearly, we should be disowned.
(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)
But, in the interest of issuing a backhanded apology of sorts, I have a confession. When Kevin and I ate this halibut the other night, I was a complete, total Bob. Just ask Kevin. I could hardly take a bite without being all “Wow! This is good!” or “This is going right into the rotation!” or perhaps even “I love this so much, I want to maaaarry it.” I think it’s really happening: I’m becoming my mother. But if that just means appreciating and reveling in good food, I suppose it’s not so bad.
And good food is exactly what this meal is: a bed of wholesome brown rice and steamed spinach, topped with a flavorful, meaty piece of halibut—all drizzled with a salty-spicy-tart dressing. It’s also ridiculously easy. Which will leave you with plenty of energy to fawn over the meal as you eat it.
Halibut with Soy-Ginger Dressing
Food & Wine
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1/4 cup finely julienned peeled fresh ginger (1 ounce)
Six 6-ounce halibut fillets, skinned
Freshly ground pepper
Steamed short-grain rice and steamed spinach or pea shoots, for serving
In a small skillet, toast the sesame seeds over moderate heat, stirring a few times until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce with the rice vinegar, mirin, grapeseed and sesame oils, scallions and ginger. In a large, shallow dish, brush the halibut fillets with half of the soy-ginger dressing. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes (or up to 3 hours).
Preheat the oven to 450°. Transfer the halibut to a large, rimmed baking sheet and season with pepper. Bake the fish in the upper third of the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until glazed and just cooked through.
Spoon the rice into shallow bowls. Set the halibut fillets on top and spoon the spinach alongside. Pour the remaining dressing over the fish, sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds and serve.