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Seasonal Spanish Food
by Jose Pizarro

Halibut is a delicious fish: firm-fleshed with a beautiful flavor that goes really well with the beans. Do try and use dried black beans for this recipe—they make a great sauce.
Serves 4


    · 7 oz dried black beans
    · 1 small onion, whole
    · 1 small leek, whole
    · 1 tomato, whole
    · 1 small carrot, whole
    · 1 small bay leaf
    · 1/2 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika (mild)
    · 2 garlic cloves, 1 chopped
    · 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    · salt and freshly ground black pepper
    · 4 halibut steaks, 7oz each

    Watercress Salad
    · large bunch of watercress
    · 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    · 1 tablespoon Moscatel white wine vinegar
    · salt and freshly ground black pepper


Soak the beans for 12 hours in plenty of cold water.

In a saucepan, mix the beans with all the vegetables, the bay leaf, paprika, and one of the garlic cloves (whole) in enough fresh water to fill the pan two fingers-width above the beans. Bring everything rapidly to a boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer for about 1 hour. After that time, remove and reserve the vegetables and the garlic clove, and leave the beans in the pan to continue cooking.

In a frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and cook the second chopped garlic clove until golden. Now add the cooked garlic, onion, leek, and carrot and season with salt and pepper. Scrape everything into a food processor and process to a puree. You want to thicken the bean liquor with this puree, so once the beans are cooked, carefully mix it in so that the beans do not break.

Wash the watercress thoroughly. To make the dressing, simply whisk the oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper together and toss it through the watercress.

Season the fish with salt before you start cooking them; it tastes better this way. Heat the remaining oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat and cook the fillets for about 4 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of each fillet.

Place a spoonful of beans in the middle of the plate, the fillet of fish on top, and the watercress salad to one side. Drizzle the fish and beans with a little olive oil and serve.

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