Dinner for 6… No, 5… No, 4… No, 3… No, 2.

Am I losing my touch? It was Friday. I had planned the ‘Family Dinner’ that we have pretty well every Sunday. I let the diners know that we would be having Roast Leg of Wicklow Lamb Studded With Garlic and Rosemary, served with a Wine Gravy, Parsnips, Carrots and Potatoes. This is a crowd pleaser. However, things were not to go according to plan. First to drop out was my mother. In fairness, a viral infection having led to a week in bed qualified as a half reasonable excuse. Eldest daughter and boyfriend did a double diss, preferring dinner at his over the magnificence on offer in these parts. The most crushing blow was delivered by youngest daughter, favoring some late teenage party with friends over my culinary exploits. Only the Wife remained loyal, saving me from my feelings of total rejection.

We quickly agreed that splitting a leg of lamb between two was possibly a bit over the top. This led to a postponement and replacement with a hurriedly prepared Halibut Steak with Ratatouille and Fettuccini.

The drop-outs could stay dropped-out. Wife and I would dine in style. I would park my feelings of rejection and resentment. If you would like to do likewise, here’s what you will need. There were 2 of us so I used 2 of everything (almost):

  • 2 nice halibut steaks
  • 2 onions
  • 2 courgettes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Baby vine 2matoes (sorry)
  • Tinned 2matoes (OK, I am pushing it)
  • Fet2chini (that’s the last one, I promise)
  • Olive oil, salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of paprika

Here’s what you need to do:

Chop and salt the courgettes. This stops them getting very soggy when they cook. Leave them to do their thing. Then fry them in a little olive oil until they go a nice brown colour.

Make them sweat. Salting the courgettes extracts a lot of the liquid. Zoom in to the pic and see!

Chop the onions. Sweat them in a large lidded pan. Chop and add the garlic to the onions.

This is a very toothsome ratatouille. Dead easy to make and perfect with the Halibut.

When the onions are translucent, add the tin of tomatoes and the courgettes. Add the paprika.

Throw in a glass of wine. Preferably the same wine as you will be drinking with it. We had a nice Chianti (one bottle between the two of us). And, yes, we committed the gastronomic crime and had red wine with fish. Halibut is quite meaty and stands up well to the fruity Italian. (I resist the temptation to put in a joke about standing up to fruity Italians. Some of my best friends are fruits).

I like to skin the halibut before cooking. Others don’t. I really don’t care what others do.

Fry the fish in oil and butter. Heat the oil to medium hot first then add the butter to the pan. This prevents the butter burning. Don’t over-cook the fish. Never over cook fish. If it is fresh, it doesn’t matter. If not, you should not be eating it anyway.

Beautiful halibut frying golden in the pan.

Cook the Fettuccini to the instructions (unless you are making your own). Decorate with the baby tomatoes. Serve it up to the Wife, or whoever is your significant other, and enjoy.

I know it’s not the lamb I planned but the halibut was really delicious.

The meal left the two of us very happy. We might encourage them to cancel more often.  My ego can stand the insult. Though, as I write this, the lamb is in the oven and we have seven, yes seven showing up. One of them, my long-lost son. More of that in a later post….

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Latest comments
  • Nice post, nice meal.

  • Agree completely on your statement of never cooking fish too long!

    I don’t think red wine with fish is always a crime, as long as the wine is not too tannic and served on the cool side (16C). I would probably have chosen rosé with this meal though…

  • You do know how to build suspense.

    Where, if I may ask, did you learn the delicate art of handling thoseichthyological treasures? Beautifully done, indeed – dare I say it, as always

  • Nice … must try this recipe sometime. Don’t know who I’ll cook it for though, maybe some lucky lady (I hope) 🙂

    And talking of your earlier plan, I did do something similar last week. Will post it soon.

  • Lovely meal. You taught me something today. Courgette. I like that.

    • It doesn’t begin with ‘P’.

      • That’s alright – French words are good as well. I usually grow zucchini in my garden but my new yard is so small that I just have my herb garden and a few tomato plants.

        • We have rosemary, sage, mint, coriander, parsley, chives and thyme. All, bar tough rosemary, clinging to life after a late cold spell. Hopefully, they will recover for BBQ season.

          • Coriander (cilantro, right?),chives, basil, thyme, a yellow pear tomato and a nice red heirloom variety. I’ve got room for about two more planters so I think some peppers, rosemary, mint & oregano are on the horizon.:) Happy Spring!

  • Such a beautiful meal – more for you and your wife to enjoy!

  • I never thought of doing a ratatouile with zucchini instead of eggplant, but I am going to have to try this! Also, we would have come to dinner had we been invited! 😉

  • This looks very nice! I am sorry your dinner guests cancelled but it was more their loss I think…

  • Yes I’m beginning to realise that my kids are even now developing lives that do not necessarily have Dad at the centre of them. However I still expect them to look after me in old age. If they want the inheritance. Which doesn’t exist yet. Not that I’ve told them that. Yet.

  • Conor, I think your post and recipe is superb! I look forward to reading your previous posts and ones to come. Thank you, I know that I am going to thoroughly enjoy following your blog and am only sorry that I did not know about it before now. – Sarah from Streamabout.com

    • Hi Sarah, thanks for that. We need all the encouragement we can get!

  • Conor, I know that you and your wife enjoyed the meal even if there wasn’t family to join in.

    • I am thinking of banning them altogether. A lot less stress that way!

  • Sounds like you improvised very well indeed! Hope the seven of you – or is that eight including you? – enjoyed the lamb.

  • Pretty please share that lamb recipe, it sounds amazing!!

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