Pepper Crusted Halibut with Tomatoes and Artichokes

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I’m getting ready for a little vacay (transcontinental) and with only a day until I leave, I’ve been running around like a maniac. Packing is it’s usual disaster and I have been trying to remember every last minute detail I’ve put off until now. I am a master procrastinator and the further in advance I know I need to do something, the longer I seem to wait. My mom can attest to this – she’s seen my perfectly cleaned room get swallowed by the contents of my suitcase before. It’s a marvel – truly.

In any case, I also conveniently put off getting myself bikini ready until now. With birthday celebrations and impromptu baking a now regular part of summer evenings, I haven’t done so well in cutting down on sugar. It’s a brownie-a-night kind of lifestyle and ya know, no regrets! But now that it’s crunch time, I’ve been making a conscious effort to cook foods that won’t cause bloating.

Fish couldn’t be a better choice and this dish is perfect because it packs flavor without adding much salt. Basil, pepper, tomatoes, and citrus all pair so beautifully for a summer dish that’s refreshing and just the right amount of zesty. I’ll find an excuse to add citrus to anything and this recipe is no exception. However, that being said, you always gotta add a lil’ lemon when you’re having fish! It’s like wine and cheese – an essential flavor duo.

Not to mention, alongside apple cider vinegar, ginger, cinnamon, and turmeric – lemon is a wonderful anti-bloat ingredient. So, why not add a squeeze to the artichokes and tomatoes too?!

Though it wasn’t my initial intention, I must have had Greece on the mind because this dish is mediterranean to the nth degree! And it just so happens we have grape leaves in the house too – we are basically living the Greek life. If you can’t physically be in Greece, at least you can take a mental vacay tonight with this recipe!

Ingredients:

For the Halibut:

  • 1 lb halibut (four 4 oz skinless filets)
  • 1 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp lemon pepper
  • 2 tsp salt

For the Artichokes:

  • 2 whole artichokes
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 tbsp grapeseed oil (a better choice for cooking at high temp. due to its higher smoke point)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (about 1 clove)
  • S+P to taste

For the tomatoes:

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 5-6 basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Preparation:

  1. Preheat a grill pan, as well as two large sauté pans all to medium-high heat over stovetop.
  2. Then, start prepping the artichokes and tomatoes. First, set aside a medium sized bowl with water and add the juice and wedges of one lemon to create a lemon water bath for the artichokes. Next, take both artichokes and chop off the tops of each, about 1/2 inch from the tip of each. Chop off the ends of the stem, but reserve the majority of each stem. The longer the stem, the easier it is to work with.
  3. Halve each artichoke lengthwise, and using a large spoon, scoop out the fibrous, feathery middle section. This is part is not edible! You should be left with a hollow opening each half.
  4. Cut each of the halves in half again so that you now have quarters. Peel off the outer, tough leaves of each quarter until you reach the lighter green leaves.
  5. Immediately submerge each piece in the lemon water bath to prevent oxidization and browning. Set this bowl aside for the time being.
  6. Wash and halve 2 cups of cherry tomatoes, and place the tomatoes in a bowl. Set this aside. Take the basil leaves and roll these tightly together. Slice thinly across the  roll to create thin ribbons (aka. a chiffonade). Reserve these for later.
  7. Mince the two cloves of garlic needed for the tomatoes and artichokes and set aside.
  8. Next, prep the halibut steaks, removing the skin, if any (I always ask to have the skin removed). Then combine the pepper, lemon pepper, and salt in a small dish and mix well. Sprinkle both sides of each filet with the pepper rub and grate the zest of 1 lemon over each.
  9. Add 2 tbsp of grapeseed oil to the grill pan and add each filet to the pan. Set a timer for 5 minutes, and as this cooks, move over to the artichokes.
  10. Add 1 tbsp of grapeseed oil and the minced garlic to one of the sauce pans. Let the garlic infuse into the oil, and meanwhile, set a cup of water next to the pan to use later for steaming the artichokes.
  11. Lay each artichoke quarter face down in the pan and add the juice of two lemons over top. Sprinkle in a little salt and leave the artichoke for 3-5 minutes in order to get golden brown.
  12. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the last sauce pan and add in the cherry tomatoes with the garlic and balsamic vinegar.
  13. Flip the halibut filets and sprinkle the juice of one lemon over each filet. Let these cook for another 5 minutes.
  14. Returning to the artichokes, check that the hearts are browning and if sufficiently browned, add in the water and cover the sauce pan to let the artichokes steam until the water has evaporated. This should take 3 minutes – about the remainder of time the halibut needs to finish.
  15. Toss in the basil and lemon zest into the tomatoes, which should now have started to blister and turn down the heat to low while the halibut and artichokes finish cooking.
  16. Once the halibut is done, carefully remove one of the filets onto a plate and test its doneness by pressing or cutting into one of the corners. It should easily flake off.
  17. If the fish is flaky, portion each filet on a separate plate and top with the tomatoes and artichokes.
  18. Serve immediately and enjoy!

I hope you love this recipe and share it over good conversation, and even better company! Thank you as always for reading!

– xo Grace

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