B.C. recipes: Smoked wild Pacific halibut cheek slider with maple bacon peach jam

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      If you’re thinking of making fish sandwiches or burgers, consider using fish cheeks, which can help to reduce food waste. 

      Here’s a B.C. twist on fish sliders that make use of halibut cheeks, as well as peaches, from Cory Walby of Saturday Night Test Kitchen (courtesy of Wild Pacific Halibut).

      This recipe make one slider and enough maple bacon peach jam for about 10 sliders.

      Smoked wild Pacific halibut cheek slider with maple bacon peach jam

      Maple bacon peach jam
      Yield: roughly 2 cups 

      12 strips maple bacon, chopped into ½-inch pieces
      1 onion, diced
      2 cloves garlic, minced 
      4 peaches, stones removed, diced into ½-inch pieces (save the juices)
      1 tsp lemon zest
      1 tbsp lemon juice
      2 tbsp white wine vinegar
      2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
      ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
      1 tbsp balsamic reduction or balsamic vinegar
      3 tbsp maple syrup
      4 to 6 sprigs fresh thyme
      ½ tsp chili flakes

      For each slider:
      1 wild Pacific halibut cheek
      fresh ground pepper
      1 slider roll or crispy style bun, lightly toasted
      1 tbsp mayonnaise
      ½ cup arugula 
      1 tsp fresh lemon juice
      3 tbsp maple bacon peach jam


      Maple bacon peach jam
      In a deep pan, fry the bacon pieces until crisp.
      Remove from the pan and set aside.
      Remove all but 2 tbsp of the bacon fat from the pan.
      Add your onion and garlic to the pan and cook until soft and translucent.
      Now, add remaining jam ingredients and mix well.
      Add the bacon pieces back in, turn the temperature to low and cover.
      Cook for about 35 to 40 minutes until soft and jam like.
      Remove from the stove and allow to cool.

      Wild Pacific halibut cheek
      Turn on your smoker and set the temperature to 225 F (107 C).
      If you don’t have a smoker, preheat your grill to 400 F (204 C).
      Gently season your wild Pacific halibut cheek with salt and pepper and place on the preheated grill surface. 
      If smoking, allow for 25 to 30 minutes of smoke. 
      Remove from the grill, and preheat it back to 400 F (204 C).
      Once the grill has come to temperature, place the cheek back on the grill and sear until the cheek can be gently removed from the grates, about 3 to 4 minutes. 
      Flip and do the same with the other side. 
      Tip: cook for 6 to 8 minutes per 2.5 cm (1-inch) of thickness.
      Remove from the grill and begin to dress the slider.

      Start assembling each slider with a toasted bun at the bottom and spread mayonnaise over it.
      Add the arugula and drizzle with lemon juice. 
      Then add your cheek, spoon about 3 tbsp of the jam on top of the cheek, top with the bun and serve.