Smooth, rich aioli is an elegant finish for halibut wrapped in peppery hoja santa leaves on a bed of lemon-infused vegetables.

This recipe is from Cindy Pawlcyn's Napa Valley Menu.
Servings: Serves 6
  • 9 baby (cocktail) artichokes
  • 12 new potatoes
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 6 (6-ounce) halibut fillets
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 medium or 3 large hoja santa leaves , blanched, tough stems removed
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil , plus more for grilling
  • 1 large or 2 small leeks , sliced lengthwise and quartered
  • 4 thinly sliced scallions
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley , loosely packed
Spring garlic aioli:
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 bulb green garlic , tough outer layer removed
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
Note: Hoja santa leaves can be purchased at Latin markets, or substitute chard, fig, or grape leaves.

To make halibut: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, trim bottoms and rip outer leaves off baby artichokes, then slice vertically. Add to boiling water along with new potatoes and juice of 1 lemon. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Remove all. When cool, cut potatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Set vegetables aside.

Preheat grill. Season halibut with salt and pepper. Cut hoja santa leaves to make 1-inch- to 2-inch-wide strips. Wrap 1 strip around the center of each fillet, leaving a small amount of halibut exposed at both ends. Brush with olive oil, and grill fillets, turning to get cross-hatch marks (or sauté with olive oil in a heavy skillet). Cooking time depends on thickness of cut: For medium, plan 5 minutes per 1/2 inch of thickness.

While halibut is cooking, heat olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add leeks and scallions. When tender, stir in precooked artichokes and potatoes to heat through; add lemon zest, remaining lemon juice, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

To make spring garlic aioli: In a blender, combine lemon juice, garlic, egg yolks, and a pinch of both salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon water and blend until smooth. While machine is running, slowly drizzle in oil. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if desired.

To serve, arrange a helping of vegetables in the center of each plate; top with a halibut fillet and a dollop of aioli.


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