Alaskan Halibut Cooked with Tomato Confit
For the tomato confit:
- 2 sprigs Basil
- 1 sprig Mint
- 4 each Large, ripe, tomatoes (such as Brandywine or Cherokee Purple), core removed
- 1 head Garlic, cloves peeled and left whole
- 1 cup Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp. Sea salt
- 1/4 tsp. Hot pepper flakes
Set the herbs in an oven proof baking dish large enough to hold the tomatoes (this will need to be twice the size of the whole tomatoes). Cut tomatoes in half equatorially lay them skin side down on the herb bed. The tomatoes should fit snugly in the baking dish, but not be smashed. Wedge the whole garlic cloves into the spaces left between the tomato halves. Next, drizzle the olive oil over the tomatoes and season with the sea salt and hot pepper flakes. Bake uncovered in a 300-degree oven for approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours until tomatoes have a melting texture and are lightly caramelized. It is a good idea to occasionally baste the tomatoes with the olive oil and juices. Allow tomatoes to cool for at least 30 minutes, but an hour is better. After cooling, gently remove the skin from the tomatoes.
For the halibut:
- 24 ounces Northern halibut, cut into 1/8" slices (this can be done by your fish monger, but it is a good idea to call the day before you want to pick it up, given that fish is often portioned in the morning prior to the store opening)
- 2 tsp. Sea salt
- 1 tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
Preheat an oven to 500-degrees. Divide the olive oil between 4 dinner plates and smoothly even out with fingertips Next, gently lay the slices of halibut on each of the plates and arrange so that they follow the shape of the inner rim of the plate, but do not overlap. Place the plates with the halibut into the oven and cook until just opaque (1 to 2 minutes. It is important not to overcook the halibut at this stage, as it will finish cooking on the plates after removing from the oven. Spoon over the tomato confit and garlic cloves with some of the oil and juices and serve. Save any remaining tomato confit, as it is delicious tossed with pasta or spread on grilled toast.
Oliveto Restaurant & Cafe
5655 College Avenue
Oakland, CA 94618
About Paul Canales:
A professional food career was the furthest thing from Chef Paul Canales' mind when he took a corporate job right out of college. After graduating with honors from California State University Fresno with degrees in literature, philosophy, political science and history, Canales accepted a position with Pacific Bell. Promoted quickly, he worked in sales, marketing, strategy and finance, and soon was responsible for business planning for the entire Bay Area. Yet while at CSUF, Canales had studied in Italy, England and Taiwan and later traveled extensively in Italy, France and Spain. As he explored the world, he discovered his deep love for culture and specifically, cuisine. The bug bit deep: In (year), after eight and a half years as a high level executive in the corporate world, he walked away from it all to pursue his passion for cooking.His first stop was at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. By fate, he was placed as an extern at Oliveto in 1995, and while there, he immediately realized that he had found the authenticity he sought, in the restaurant's commitment to the premium ingredients and its famed "no shortcuts" approach to regional Northern Italian cooking. He returned to the CIA to complete his course of study, winning scholarships and awards - including the Escoffier Award for Leadership and Academic Excellence and the Wine Spectator Award for Excellence - and graduated at the top of his class. Seeking a serious proving ground, Canales moved to New York City and worked under several of the city's finest chefs, including Louis Fessy (Four Seasons), Roland Chenus (Le Pavilion, Le Cote Basque, and Le Chantilly), and Andre Soltner (Lutece). Yet memories of his time with Oliveto lingered, and in late 1996 he returned as a line cook. He was soon promoted to sous chef, and in 2000, he was named chef de cuisine. Canales was named executive chef of Oliveto in the summer of 2004.Canales has long been a champion of ingredient-driven cuisine, demanding only the freshest, highest quality products and allowing their natural brilliance to shine through. For the past decade, he has promoted this philosophy in concert with Oliveto, in its menu development for the restaurant and café, and in sourcing and developing a dedicated community of organic and sustainable producers.