The challenge for the cooks is to filet a whole halibut. Gordon demonstrates expertly. He begins on the top side of the fish. Making a cut along the underside of the head, he then turns and follows a line down the middle of the body. Using his fingers in the newly cut line to gently pull back, he runs his knife along the bone until he has one filet free. He does the same three more times- the other half of the top side as well as two halves of the bottom.
Next, he skins the fish, which requires carefully wiggling the knife to help you separate the skin from the flesh. He cuts his four filets into perfect portions, and lastly removes the cheek meat. The cooks will have just twenty minutes to duplicate this task. Many have never fileted a fish this large, and some have never fileted a fish at all.
SJ presents a pan-seared halibut with Parisian gnocchi, pickled pears, and pancetta cream sauce. The acid from the pears is a good choice for the fish, but his gnocchi are overcooked, his pancetta too salty, and his halibut is over-seared.
Ashley goes up last. She plated in the final seconds, but her dish is beautiful. Her pan-seared halibut rests on a bed of creamed spinach, and she has a little ring of gnocchi a la Parisienne around the fish. Atop the fish is a bright green pile of some sort of microgreen. Her gnocchi, made with pate a choux, is pillowy. The cook on her fish is perfection. Aaron calls her dish unbelievable.
The Top 12 face their third skills test in the MASTERCHEF kitchen and replicate the proper way to break down a halibut. Those who fail to impress the judges are then tasked with creating a stunning original dish using their broken-down fish. Some contestants yield a bountiful filet, while others offer up a poor portion of protein. Ultimately, the judges will decide who will be left floundering and sent home.
Steep the saffron in the hot stock for 5 minutes. Season the halibut with 1/2 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Brown the halibut all over, 2 to 3 minutes, and remove it to a plate.
Uncover, and add the halibut chunks on top. Cover, and simmer just to heat the halibut through and finish cooking it, about 2 minutes. Season with salt if needed. Sprinkle with the parsley, stir gently, and serve with the fregola as the base and the halibut on top. 59ce067264