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Sear-Roasted Halibut with Roasted Red Pepper Purée

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Serves four.

  • by Maryellen Driscoll from Fine Cooking
    Issue 85

  • 2-1/2 oz. roasted red pepper (about 1/2 large jarred roasted pepper)
  • 2 Tbs. sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. honey
  • 1 medium clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 6- to 7-oz. center cut, skin-on halibut fillets
  • 1 Tbs. thinly sliced fresh chives or chopped marjoram

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

In a blender, combine the red pepper, vinegar, and honey. Turn the blender on, let it run for a few seconds, and then drop the garlic through the feed hole. With the blender still running, slowly pour in the 1/4 cup oil and process until the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute, stopping to scrape down the lid and sides of the blender jar as necessary. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Set the fish skin side down on a plate and season with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining 2 Tbs. oil in a large ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat until shimmering. Put the fish skin side up in the skillet, and cook until well browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip the fish, turn off the heat, and transfer the pan to the oven. Roast until the fish is flaky, moist, and cooked through (use the tip of a paring knife to check), 5 to 7 minutes.

Transfer the fish to dinner plates, spoon about 1 Tbs. purée onto or around each piece, sprinkle with the chives or marjoram, and serve immediately with the remaining purée on the side.

Leftovers

Any leftover purée will keep, refrigerated, for up to 5 days. You can serve it with chicken or pork, or thin the purée with additional olive oil to make a dressing for steamed, sautéed, or roasted asparagus or a salad of romaine hearts, red onion, and hard-boiled egg.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on four servings; Calories (kcal): 550; Fat (g): 46; Fat Calories (kcal): 410; Saturated Fat (g): 7; Protein (g): 27; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 30; Carbohydrates (g): 5; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4.5; Sodium (mg): 610; Cholesterol (mg): 85; Fiber (g): 0;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Simple, delicious, and very attractive looking on the plate with the bright red sauce. The first few times I made this recipe, I roasted the red pepper myself, but then I got lazy and used jarred roasted Spanish peppers. As it turns out, they have a nice smoky quality and were even better. Quality of the dish of course hinges on quality of the halibut. Beware of overcooking because it's a fish that can go from sublime to dry in a matter of a few minutes.

I enjoyed this recipe much more after making it with way less of the sherry vinegar. At first the vinegar was overpowering but after tweaking it, it was delicious.

I agree, the sauce is terrific with the halibut and went great with the fresh corn and brussel sprouts I served on the side. I cooked the halibut on the grill. My husband was clamoring for more.

Really enjoyed this recipe. It is simple and fast. The sauce on this really is what makes it. It adds the right amount of flavor to this mild fish. Great weeknight recipe. This is a keeper for simple goodness.

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