I’ve got creative recipes for cooking with Halibut during spring:
1. Braised Halibut on the Stovetop
My favorite way to cook halibut is Eric Ripert’s Braised Halibut with Peas. It begins with sautéed bacon pieces, then onions, peas, and lettuce. Halibut is nestled into the vegetables, simmered in chicken stock for just a few minutes until cooked through. The result is a bacon-infused broth and tender, flaky, halibut fillets. I love this technique so much I simplified it to one pot and made it my inspiration for Braised Halibut and Artichokes, a recipe to be featured on the blog later this week.
In Fiesta at Rick’s, there is a recipe for Frontera Grill’s Now-Classic Ceviche showcasing the sweet flavor and firm flesh of halibut. The sushi-grade halibut is cut into 1/2-inch cubes, then marinated in lime juice with chopped white onion in the fridge for half an hour (for medium rare) or up to 3-4 hours for “cooked” all the way through. Finely chopped hot green chiles (serranos or jalapeño), green olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and cilantro are added to the “cooked” fish, which is then seasoned with salt and a pinch of sugar. Serve the halibut ceviche with corn chips as an appetizer for happy hour on the patio with a nice cold cerveza.
3. Grilled Halibut Steaks
I can always look to The London River Cafe cookbooks for the simplest, most delicious celebration of an ingredient. In Two Easy, I found instructions for bone-in halibut steaks brushed with olive oil and cooked quickly on the grill (about 4 minutes total). Serve with a squeeze of lemon and fresh, herbal salsa verde ( a sauce of parsley, mint, garlic, capers, anchovies, and olive oil). It’s a beautifully fresh meal for this season of dining al fresco.
4. Fish and Fennel Stew
The book, Ancient Grains for Modern Meals, is a treasure trove of inspiring recipes rooted in history. I was especially drawn to this light, spring/summer fish stew infused with the Greek anise flavored liquor, Ouzo. Tomatoes, fennel, bay leaf, and garlic are simmered with cubed halibut and served over whole wheat couscous. Being outside stimulates the appetite, and this fish stew is satisfying without being heavy- perfect for spring!
5. Roasted Halibut with Crisp Walnut-Breadcrumb Crust
The firm texture of halibut and its ability to withstand heat make the fish perfect for coating with breadcrumbs and dry roasting. This recipe forRoasted Halibut with Walnut Crust involves brushing the top of halibut fillets with melted butter, then coating with a mixture of chopped walnuts, panko, parsley, basil, and chives, then roasting in a 450 degree oven for about 8 minutes. Panko is a fine, very crisp Japanese breadcrumb that’s widely available and once you try it you’ll never go back to making your own. The fish is tender and flaky, with a very crisp and delicious crust- easy and yet a meal that seems special.
6. Curried Halibut
This sunny, sultry recipe for Indian-Spiced Halibut with Yogurt from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: New Classics, is a simple curry that will brighten up a rainy April day. The spice blend is a mixture of curry powder, fenugreek, mustard, cardamom, and cloves. Garlic, ginger and brown sugar are added to the mix along with some water to form a paste. Sauté the curry with thinly sliced onion and a green chile, adding the halibut fillets, stock, and tomatoes. Simmer for about 6 minutes until the fish is cooked, then serve with yogurt.
7. Olive Oil-Poached Halibut
The recipe for Olive Oil-Poached Halibut with Roasted Beets and Blood Oranges from The Young Man and the Sea is a much-needed infusion of color in our early spring cooking. According to Chef David Pasternack, “Poaching fish in olive oil gives it a luxe texture…poaching-the gentlest form of cooking-gives the fish a terrific, clean flavor.” 10 cups of olive oil are heated in a Dutch oven with rosemary, garlic, and chile. Once the oil comes to a simmer, the aromatics are removed, and the halibut fillets are added to the pot to cook for about 6 minutes. The halibut is served with a roasted beet and blood orange salad, salt, and freshly ground pepper. Or, use this technique to cook the fish and come up with your own colorful spring garnishes.
8. Steamed in Sake with Asian Flavors
I’m really into this recipe for Sake-Steamed Halibut with Ginger and Cabbage– it’s light, nourishing, and full of flavor. Shredded cabbage, sliced leeks, and fresh ginger are sautéed until tender. Halibut fillets are added to the pan with a splash of sake and simmered for a few minutes. Garnish with shaved cauliflower and sliced scallions.
9. Pan Roasted
Searing fish in a hot pan then finishing it in the oven yields a crisp, golden crust and tender, flaky flesh. The firm texture of halibut is well-suited to this quick cooking technique. In Ad Hoc at Home, Thomas Keller’s recipe for Pan-Roasted Halibut calls for halibut fillets to be seared in a hot, oiled pan for about 7 minutes, then transferred to the oven until cooked through (another couple of minutes). Lastly, “flip the fish over, and “kiss” the second side for about 30 seconds. Keller serves this simply prepared fish with a sprinkling of flour de sel, on a bed of sautéed chanterelles and green pea shoots.
10. Instead of Tuna Salad, Try Halibut Salad
A chef at Glacier Bay Country Inn in Alaska came up with this recipe for Halibut Salad to use up leftover halibut. Just like tuna salad, the recipe uses a mayonnaise base flavored with celery, scallions, and dill. This idea could inspire endless variations- green garlic, radish, lemon, caper, basil- my mind is overwhelmed by the flavor possibilities. So if you’ve got a bit of leftover halibut from last night’s supper, turn it into a gourmet lunch with some rye bread and pickles.