Apparently, the word confit comes from the French verb confire (to prepare), which in turn comes from the Latin word (conficere), meaning “to do, to produce, to make, to prepare”. The French verb was first applied in medieval times to fruits cooked and preserved in sugar. These days, confit generally indicates food that is cooked in fat, oil or sugar water/syrup at a lower temperature than deep frying.
When cooked en confit, leeks become luscious, sweet, and oh-so-tender. Paired w/ fresh halibut, cooked just until flaky and moist, it becomes a wonderful weekday meal that barely requires any supervision before it is ready for the table.
Halibut Confit with Leeks, Coriander, and Lemon (original recipe from here) – makes 6 servings
- 1/2 tbl coriander seeds, plus more very coarsely chopped for serving
- 2 leeks, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 2″ pieces
- 4 sprigs cilantro, cut into 2″ pieces, plus leaves for serving
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 lemon, thinly sliced, seeds removed
- Kosher salt
- 1.5 pound skinless halibut fillet, halved lengthwise
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Coarsely grind 1 tablespoon coriander seeds in a spice mill or with a mortar and pestle. (Alternatively, you can coarsely chop with a knife.)
- Toss leeks, cilantro sprigs, oil, half of lemon slices, and 2 teaspoons ground coriander in a large roasting pan; season with salt. Roast, tossing occasionally, until leeks are tender and starting to brown, 15-20 minutes.
- Remove roasting pan from oven and carefully pour infused oil into a large heatproof measuring cup.
- Reduce oven temperature to 275°F. Season halibut with salt and arrange over leeks in roasting pan. Top with remaining lemon slices and ground coriander and pour infused oil over fish. Roast until halibut is just cooked through and starting to flake, 30-35 minutes.
- Cut halibut into large pieces and serve with leeks and lemon topped with chopped coriander seeds and cilantro leaves.****Prep notes: Halibut can be roasted 1 hour ahead. Let cool and cover.