Phyllo Halibut Bundles and Warm Wild Rice Salad

Samsung - Canadian Living Cook of the Year Contest - Phyllo Halibut Bundles and Warm Wild Rice Salad Image by: Samsung - Canadian Living Cook of the Year Contest - Phyllo Halibut Bundles and Warm Wild Rice Salad Author: Canadian Living

For the past 25 years I have been receiving Canadian Living magazine, have purchased the cookbooks and special publications. I have several file folders that are stuffed to overflowing with years' worth of my favorite recipes. A few years ago I finally gave away most of my mother's cookbook collection because I never used them. Those well used folders of CL recipes are the foundation of my cooking. I often think of CL magazine as a proud parent - one of my proud parents. Canadian Living has been with me from my infancy as a cook and has stood by me as my kitchen skills were honed and my cooking instincts matured. I would not be the cook I am today without CL. So, thank you, thank you, thank you for the years of wonderful meals and lessons. My guests think I am a cooking genius but it is the support system behind the cook that is the real genius.

I created this recipe because I love Greek inspired flavours and I love make-ahead meals when entertaining. You can enjoy a day out with family and friends and still have dinner ready for your guests half an hour after you get home. This meal can be made early in the day of the dinner or the day before guests arrive. The recipe looks daunting but it is not difficult to put together. The key is to chop and prep all of the vegetables and fresh herbs needed for all components prior to cooking. Use ready to go pre-washed, packaged spinach. If made ahead the flavours have a chance to meld together. This recipe features BC halibut, prairie grown wild rice and walnuts that grow in many regions of Canada. Also, Canadian orchard fresh nectarines when in season. During spring and summer use locally grown farm fresh herbs and vegetables (or from your garden) as well as locally produced free range or organic eggs.

Approx. cost: $90.00

  • Portion size 8 servings
  • Credits : Sylvia Reimer


Fruit Salsa:
Halibut Bundles:
Wild Rice Salad:


Heat oven to 400° F. Cut scant top third off the 5 heads of garlic. Place on foil, drizzle with a bit of olive oil; wrap garlic in foil and roast for 45-50 min.

Rinse wild rice. Heat 1 1/4 cups water to boiling in small saucepot; add rice. Stir; bring back to boil and lower heat. Simmer until rice grains start to pop; about 40 min. Drain any excess water and return rice to pot. Set aside.

Spread walnuts onto baking sheet. After garlic is roasted, turn oven off and wait 5 min. Toast walnuts in cooling oven for 15 - 20 min. Make sure they don't burn.

Prep all raw ingredients. Cut onion; white and light green part of leek; fennel in half. Remove fennel core. Wash leek to remove any grit. Cut above into thin, half moon slice. (approx. 1/8") Place in large bowl. Mince garlic; set aside. Chop 3/4 cup dill and 1 cup parsley, and 2 tbsp. fresh mint. Zest and then juice 1 lemon. Crumble feta cheese; refrigerate. Coarsely chop walnuts, leaving it in large pieces. Set everything aside.

Wild Rice Salad:
Heat olive oil in stockpot over medium-low heat. Without browning, sauté fennel, leek, onion and oregano for 10-12 min. or until fennel is barely tender. Add garlic; sauté 3 more minutes. Add cooked rice; heat through. Stir in pepper and fresh parsley and dill. Remove from heat. Add spinach, stir to combine; cover. Spinach will start to wilt with residual heat. (Don't add feta and walnuts until just before serving). Leave at room temperature. Before serving, taste; add more herbs if necessary; may need to reheat slightly. If making ahead, refrigerate.

Fruit Salsa:
While the wild rice salad vegetables are sautéing, start preparing salsa. Chop unpeeled nectarines to a small dice. Put in a bowl. With a sharp knife slice skin and pith from oranges and lemon. Follow contours of the fruit. Place sieve over bowl to allow juices to drain through. With knife and over sieve, segment fruit avoiding membranes. Remove segments from sieve, chop to a small dice; add to bowl. Stir in mint and oil. Add a bit of lemon juice if needed. Cover and leave at room temperature. For make-ahead salsa, cover and refrigerate.

Mix cornstarch with a bit of the stock; add to remaining stock. Stirring, heat stock in small saucepan to boiling and thickened. Remove from heat and cover. Separate eggs. Beat egg whites to soft peak stage. Continuously beating, add yolks and combine. Slowly add lemon juice. Drizzle in stock. If using immediately return sauce to warm pan. Keep warm. Do not boil. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate.

Halibut Bundles:

Melt butter in small saucepan and keep warm. Squeeze roasted garlic cloves onto a plate or wide, flat bottomed bowl; mash with fork. Add oil, lemon zest and juice, Dijon mustard, herbs and seasoning. Combine well. Pat halibut fillets dry; season each with a bit of salt and pepper. Spread 1/8 of garlic mash over each fillet. Place 1 sheet phyllo on work surface, long side facing you. Cover remaining phyllo with damp towel. Brush sheet with melted butter; repeat twice. Cut phyllo stack in half vertically. Place 1 fillet on each half, 2" from edge. Fold edge over fish; fold sides in; roll fish forming a tight packet brushing with butter as you roll. Brush top well with butter; place seam down on parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pastry and fish. To make ahead, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate till cooking time. Otherwise, preheat oven to 425° F. Bake halibut in center of oven for 15 min. Add feta and nuts to rice salad.

Spoon serving portion of rice salad on center of 8 plates. Cut phyllo bundles in half on an angle. Place halibut halves on top of rice at opposite angles to each other, resting 1 half slightly on the other. Place heaping spoonful of salsa in notch of halibut pieces. Stand fennel/dill sprigs upright in salsa as garnish. Ladle lemon sauce onto plate completely encircling rice. Drop small bits of salsa in lemon sauce at intervals. Sprinkle a bit of finely diced parsley/dill around plate edge or add a few strips of lemon zest and enjoy!

To make ahead:
Over medium-low heat, warm lemon sauce 30 minutes prior to serving, stir a few times and adjust heat so it does not boil. Remove salsa and rice salad from fridge. Heat oven to 425° F. Brush fish bundles with a bit more butter or olive oil. Bake halibut in center of oven for 15 min. While fish is baking, heat salad in microwave on med. power for 2 min. Stir; if necessary repeat until warmed through. Just before plating add feta and nuts; adjust seasonings. Follow plating instructions as above. (Tip: Salsa tastes best at room temperature. If possible, remove salsa from fridge 2 hours in advance.)
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Phyllo Halibut Bundles and Warm Wild Rice Salad