Dinner in 40 Minutes

Asian Simmered Halibut With Rice Wine

4 to 6 servings

Looking for a non-turkey dinner? Try these halibut fillets, which are briefly marinated in rice wine and then gently simmered in oil. Joan Nathan got this recipe from Han Feng, a New York fashion designer, and included it in her new book. If you don't have sake or rice wine, use any white wine or dry sherry. Serve with fresh steamed asparagus and rice. Adapted from Nathan's "The New American Cooking" (Knopf, 2005).

2 pounds halibut fillets

3 tablespoons rice wine or sake

2 tablespoons snipped dill

1 tablespoon chopped thyme

3 scallions, both white and light-green parts diced in thin rounds

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

1/2 cup vegetable oil

Place the halibut fillets in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the rice wine or sake, the dill, thyme, scallions, sugar and sea salt and spoon this marinade over the fillets. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes or up to 30 minutes.

In a skillet large enough to hold the fillets in one layer, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Gently add the fillets, along with the marinade. Bring to a slow simmer, adjusting heat as necessary, then cover and cook until the fish flakes, about 15 minutes. Remove the fish from the pan and serve on a platter with rice, sauced with the cooking juices.

Per serving (based on 6): 344 calories, 32 g protein, 2 g carbohydrates, 22 g fat, 48 mg cholesterol, 2 g saturated fat, 471 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Candy Sagon; e-mail questions to food@washpost.com

-- Candy Sagon

SHOPPING CART | Grand Finales

* Apple-crepe tart (eight-inch, $29) made with Granny Smith apples and chestnut honey, from Patisserie Poupon, 1645 Wisconsin Ave. NW, 202-342-3248; in plastic, a 12-inch-wide revolving musical stand that plays "Happy Birthday," $19.99. At Target stores. www.target.com.

* Holiday leaf cookies, $2 each, from Upper Crust Bakery, 13488 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring, 301-879-0622.

* Mixed fruit tart and chocolate-strawberry, mango, raspberry and lemon/raspberry mousse pastries, $3.25 each, from Cenan's Bakery, 122 Branch Rd. SE, Vienna, 703-242-0070; glazed white earthenware stand, 121/2 inches square, $65. At Williams-Sonoma stores. www.williams-sonoma.com.

* Pear Williams mousse (six-inch, $24.50) with chocolate cake and mousse and fresh pear, also from Patisserie Poupon.

Center, above and below:

* Apple/sweet potato spice cake layered with ginger cream cheese butter cream, decorated with caramel, roasted almonds, berries, cookies, ginger meringues and Grand Marnier truffles (10-inch, $45.50) from Desserts by Gerard, 6341 Livingston Rd., Oxon Hill, 301-839-2185; alloy metal, 12-inch square, pastry stand, $180, at La Cuisine, 323 Cameron St., Alexandria, 703-836-4435. www.lacuisineus.com.

* Chocolate genoise Black Forest cake (eight-inch, $32.75) with kirsch, chocolate mousse, whipped cream and cherries, also from Patisserie Poupon; brushed steel wire stand, 12 inches wide, $90, topped with a French porcelain plate, $41, also from La Cuisine.

On the right, top to bottom:

* "Sea Urchin" hazelnut dacquoise cake (six-inch, $24.50) with candied chestnut and chocolate ganache, from Patisserie Poupon; by designer Jackie Shapiro, a plastic, eight-inch wide swirl-design stand, $16.99, at Home Rule, 1807 14th St. NW, 202-797-5544. www.homerule.com.

* Florentine chocolate/almond bars, $2.75 each, also from Upper Crust Bakery.

* Polka dot butter cookies, $2 each, also from Upper Crust Bakery; 11-inch wide, polka dot stand, $19.99, also from Home Rule.

* Black currant mousse (eight-inch, $32.75) with white chocolate mousse and lady fingers, also from Patisserie Poupon.


WEDNESDAY: The Kitchen Sisters -- Book reading, signing and potluck dinner with "Hidden Kitchens" authors Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva. Free. 7 p.m. Olsson's Books and Music, 2111 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. 703-525-4227.

THURSDAY-SUNDAY: Asian food festival -- cooking demonstrations, food and wine tastings, children's activities and more. Free admission. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. each day. Super H Mart, 10780 Lee Hwy., Fairfax City. Call 703-273-0570.

SATURDAY: Vegan Thanksgiving -- cooking demonstration at the Bethesda Co-op. Free. Noon-4 p.m. 6500 Seven Locks Rd., Cabin John. Call 301-320-2530.

SATURDAY: Thanksgiving Wine Expo at Magruder's. Free. 1-4 p.m. 5626 Connecticut Avenue NW. Call 202-686-5271.

SATURDAY: Fall wine festival at Tallula Restaurant. Sponsored by Planet Wine. $35 at the door. 1:30-4:30 p.m. 2761 Washington Blvd., Arlington. Call 703-549-3444.

SATURDAY: Une Fete Federale -- Food and wine tasting with discussion on Federal-style feasting in the 19th century. Reservation deadline today. $65. 2 p.m. Riversdale House Museum, 4811 Riverdale Rd., Riverdale Park. 301-864-0420.

SUNDAY: Celebrity Chefs Cook Kosher -- fundraising event with chefs including Ann Amernick, Gil Marks and Lea Mendelsohn. Benefits the Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse. $150. 7 p.m. Congregation Ohev Shalom, 1600 Jonquil St. NW. 301-230-7284 or www.jcada.org.

MONDAY and NOV. 23: The Jewish Community Center in Washington is seeking more than 300 volunteers to prepare Thanksgiving meals for 4,000 homeless people. Register at www.dcjcc.org/volunteer/events/ebtt.php.

-- Terri Sapienza

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