The first thing we harvest from our garden in the Spring is horseradish for our traditional Passover plate. We dig up the root ,wash and peel it and then don snorkeling gear to grate it. I usually accomplish this with a blender, adding vinegar as needed. Should you become cavalierly curious and stick your head in the blender jar to see how it is proceeding, even the mask and snorkel will not provide protection from its fumes and ensuing pain and tears.
When several years ago when I was about to dig up the garden to eradicate the horseradish, Susur Lee http://www.susur.com/lee/ came by.
As I was lamenting the bounty, he suggested that he would try steaming and wrapping the leaves. I promised I would put them aside for him when I was about to dig the whole thing up. I put several large black plastic bags aside for him in the garage when that time came. Before calling Susur, I asked my men ,”Where are the leaves?” ” Oh, those things? We threw them out!” Thus I missed my chance to provide fodder for the gustatory imagination of one of the world’s best chefs.
This Autunm, I was thinking that the time had come to curtail the growth of the horseradish again, so I had no reservations about digging and poking around the roots.Thus inspired by the idea of steaming the leaves, my original recipe was born.
Halibut Steamed in Horseradish Leaf with “Albino” Beet and Grated Horseradish Root
For each serving you will need : 1 horseradish leaf , a 3″ x 3″ square of halibut, several slices of “Albino”beet, and grated horseradish root.
Briefly steam the leaf until pliable. When the leaf has cooled spread it out and make layers of beet, fish , root, beet, root. Fold the sides of the leaf around the package and then complete the wrapping by rolling the package from leaf end to end. Place about an inch of Riesling wine in a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer and then gently place the package in the wine. Cover and gently simmer for about 20 minutes.
To serve, unwrap the package on the plate it is to be served on. Open and drizzle a little olive oil on the exposed beet and serve with a dollop of sour cream topped with a bit of grated horseradish.
I served it to my husband and ran to do some errands. When I came back I asked him how he liked it. He said that it was over the top delicious except he wasn’t crazy about the Japanese tasting thing. The leaf ! I had meant it as a flavoring and to keep the fish moist . I have eaten the flowers of the horseradish and munched on the raw leaves and now we know that dependant on the degree of exoticism you enjoy in your foods that the steamed leaves can be delicious too!