Sunday, September 27, 2009

Just For the Halibut

Sorry, couldn't resist that fisherman's pun just as I couldn't resist the halibut I reported on yesterday.

This was one of the most gorgeous pieces of fish I've had in a long time and it tasted as good as it looked. If you're heading over the Reading Terminal Market today (they close at 5 p.m.), get a hunk of it at John Yi's @ $12.99/pound.

I mostly cooked it as I reported in the previous post, the major difference is that I baked it in a foil-covered dish rather than en papillote using foil. Should anyone wish to try it, below is the recipe I used. The peppers I used were the bargains I bought from Tom Culton at Headhouse Square Farmers' Market a week ago; he was selling the eight-inch long sweet red peppers at three for a buck. I only used two of these babies in the recipe; with average-sized bell peppers you'd probably need three.

Halibut with Sweet Peppers


  • Halibut filet (1 to 1.5 pounds); try to buy as thick a filet as you can find. One-and-a-half inches is idea, if you can find one.
  • Sweet peppers (three medium sized bell peppers or equivalent, any color, or mixed colors for added eye appeal)
  • One large shallot, roughly chopped (half a medium onion works, too)
  • Olive oil
  • Parsley, roughly chopped, about one-quarter to one-third of a bunch
  • Flavorful vinegar (I used sherry vinegar), two tablespoons
  • One lemon (juice from one half, slice other half thinly for garnish)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Pre-heat oven to 450 F. Position a rack in the middle of the oven.
  2. Slice peppers into one-quarter inch thick sticks, 3-4 inches long.
  3. Sauté shallots and peppers in 2-3 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat until peppers are softened, about 8-10 minutes. Just before it finishes, add salt to taste and a couple tablespoons of vinegar, turning heat to high to evaporate most of the vinegar.
  4. Transfer peppers and shallots to baking dish (8 or 9 inch square works, depending on size of fish; an oval baking dish would be even better if you have one that's big enough. Sprinkle about half the lemon juice and half the parsley over the peppers.
  5. Place fish atop the peppers, sprinkle with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, remaining lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and place on middle rack in oven. Use the Canadian method of timing: in hot oven cook for 10 minutes for each inch of thickness; a 1.5-inch thick filet will take 15 minutes.
  7. Serve fish portions (they will probably flake a little) atop the peppers, sauce with the accumulated liquid from the baking dish. Garnish with lemon slices and remaining parsley.
Because we had pumpkin ravioli as a first course, I skipped serving potatoes or any other starch with the fish. But simple steamed/boiled potatoes tossed in butter would work well, as would buttered rice, couscous or noodles. So would a good baguette to sop up the sauce. (I'd avoid more assertive flavors so that the flavor of the fish and sweet peppers shines.)

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