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Halibut Braised in a Tomato-Fennel Broth

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Serves four.

The season for Atlantic and Pacific halibut runs from around April to December. If you can’t find halibut at your local fishmonger, try another thick, mild whitefish like cod, haddock, or even monkfish.

  • One 1-1/2 lb. skin-on halibut fillet, cut into four even portions, rinsed, and dried
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 bulb fennel, trimmed, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (like Sauvignon Blanc)
  • One 14-1/2-oz. can diced tomatoes, with their juices
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh basil or flat-leaf parsley

Season the fillets with salt and pepper. Heat 2 Tbs. of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add the fillets, skin side up, and sear until just golden brown, about 4 minutes. Flip and sear the skin side for 4 minutes. Transfer the fillets to a plate; if the skin sticks to the pan, discard it.

Add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil and the sliced fennel to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened somewhat and browned in spots, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the wine, immediately cover the pan tightly with a lid or foil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer briskly until the fennel is tender, about 8 minutes. (Check halfway through; if the fennel is dry, add 2 to 3 Tbs. water). Stir in the tomatoes and their juices, 1/2 cup water, and 2 Tbs. of the herbs. Cover and simmer for another 5 minutes. Taste the broth for salt and pepper

Return the halibut to the pan, settling the pieces skin side down into the broth, and pouring over any accumulated juices. Cover tightly and simmer until the halibut is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Carefully lift out the halibut; taste the sauce, and season if necessary. Serve the fish in a shallow bowl with the sauce spooned over and around it. Garnish with the remaining 1 Tbs. herbs.

Serving Suggestions

Serve over linguine or orzo tossed with herbs and olive oil.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 330; Fat (g): fat g 14; Fat Calories (kcal): 130; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 2; Protein (g): protein g 37; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 9; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 10; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 730; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 55; Fiber (g): fiber g 4;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Halibut is outstanding and fresh in the NW this week so I was looking for something interesting for a weeknight dinner. Since we try not to eat any carbs after noon this was a perfect one dish meal. Very good. Fennel is one of my favorite veggies and the combo of that and the tomatoes to quick braise the halibut in was super.

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