One year, chef and cookbook author Joanne Weir led a culinary tour to the Cinque Terre in Italy. "We went out on the Mediterranean, where we drank prosecco and ate seafood cooked on a tiny grill…I relished the fresh grilled calamari and halibut skewers as I baked in the sunshine and gazed at the crystal blue waters from which the seafood had just come. A few people decided to go for a swim. I won't mention whether bathing suits were involved. What happens in the Mediterranean after 18 bottles of prosecco stays in the Mediterranean." This is her ode to the skewers from that day.
1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves plus 1 tbsp. chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 garlic clove, minced
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 cup salted roasted pistachios, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 pounds skinned halibut fillets, cut into 1- to 1 1/4-in. cubes
4 medium zucchini (about 1 1/2 lbs. total)
How to Make It
Make salsa verde: Combine mint leaves, parsley leaves, and garlic on a cutting board and chop finely together. Transfer to a small bowl, add 3 tbsp. oil, the pistachios, and lemon zest and juice; stir well. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine chopped mint, oregano, chives, thyme, and 2 tbsp. oil and stir together. Season with salt and pepper. Add fish and stir gently to coat evenly.
Using a vegetable peeler or mandoline, slice 1 zucchini lengthwise into paper-thin ribbons until you reach the core with the seeds, then rotate zucchini and repeat to cut more ribbons. Continue until only core with seeds remains. Discard and repeat with remaining 3 zucchini.
Heat an outdoor grill to medium-high (about 450°), or preheat a ridged cast-iron stovetop grill pan over medium-high heat. Have ready 6 metal skewers or bamboo skewers that have been submerged in water 30 minutes.
In a bowl, toss squash ribbons with remaining 1 tbsp. oil until well coated. Alternately thread halibut cubes and squash ribbons onto skewers, weaving each ribbon over and under to create a wave effect. Season loaded skewers with salt and pepper.
If using an outdoor grill, arrange skewers directly over fire. If using a stovetop pan, arrange skewers on pan. Grill skewers, turning once, until halibut has light golden grill marks, about 2 minutes on each side.
Transfer skewers to a platter or individual plates and accompany with salsa verde.
Kitchen Gypsy: Recipes and Stories from a Lifelong Romance with Food (Oxmoor House 2015).