Sicilian Halibut with Tomato Salata and Asparagus

IMG_5257IMG_5264IMG_5270IMG_5289Another fish recipe, I know, I know…”does she eat anything else?” I do, but I’d probably rather be eating fish, so here we are with yes, another fish recipe. I’m not a pescatarian but with recipes like this one, I could easily reconsider. And in summer, chicken just sounds too heavy sometimes.

This is the dish I made for my mom’s birthday. it’s a tribute to our Italian roots, despite the fact my ancestors came from Genoa (not Sicily) and has all the flavors that embody. Italian cuisine. I was feeling especially inspired after a trip to an olive oil market (*gasp*) and came home with a clear vision to make something distinctly rustic.

When I had asked my mom what she wanted me to make the other night, she had her heart set on swordfish. So, I felt absolutely terrible when I arrived at the fish counter, and was informed that someone had swooped in and bought all the swordfish AGAIN (this is becoming a trend) but halibut was actually the perfect fish for this dish. More delicate than a swordfish steak, halibut takes on any flavor you add so beautifully. And with just the right balance of oregano, red pepper, and lemon, this hit all the right notes.

I also love that although there’s a lot going on flavor-wise with this dish, it is so easy to prepare. Also, I love a reason to pay homage to my Italian roots, though in all fairness m ancestors are from Genoa, not Sicily (whoops).

This entree is just another reason that my grill pan was perhaps my best purchase of summer. If you don’t own a grill pan, don’t worry! You can still make this dish in a sauté pan! However, the beauty of the grill pan is that fish gets a nice char without me having to swelter in the heat over a BBQ. If nothing else, it looks more appetizing than roasting fish in the oven because of the color it develops, but that being said, roasting works for this recipe too – especially if you are new to cooking fish and a little hesitant to break out your grilling tongs (we’ve all been there).

Also, on a side note, if you haven’t cooked much with a grill pan before, the most valuable tip I’ve learned is to use grapeseed oil versus olive oil. Whether I’m making chicken, fish, or just grilled veggies, grapeseed oil has a higher smoke point and won’t “pop” nearly as much as olive oil.  Every time I use olive oil, it overheats and I end up with burn marks on my arms and face from oil shooting out of the pan. Don’t want none of that!

Servings: 4

Calories per serving: 294 cal

Ingredients:

For the halibut:

  • 1 lb. halibut (ie. four 4 oz filets)
  • juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp cracked pepper
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp minced garlic

For the tomato salata:

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes (quartered)
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives (coarsely chopped)
  • 10-12 basil leaves
  • juice and zest of one lemon
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • S+P to taste

For the asparagus:

  • one bunch asparagus spears
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cracked pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • optionally: add zest of 1 lemon or parmesan to sprinkle over top

Preparation:

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Trim the ends off of the asparagus and lay them in an even layer on an uncreased baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. *Tip: Make sure to cut the tips of the spears with olive oil and roll the spears around on the baking sheet to ensure you get an even coating.
  3. Pop the asparagus in the oven for 25-30 min (depending on the size of the stalks).
  4. While the asparagus is roasting, preheat a grill pan to medium high heat with 2 tbsp grapeseed oil.
  5. Remove the skin (if any) from the halibut filets. Mince the garlic and sprinkle over both sides of each filet, along with the oregano, salt, pepper, and red chili flakes.
  6. Zest one lemon over the top of each filet to finish off the seasoning.
  7. Add the filets to the grill pan and allow them to cook for 5 minutes.
  8. In the meantime, measure and quarter the cherry tomatoes, and add these to a small bowl. Measure and coarsely chop the Kalamata olives and add these to the bowl as well.
  9. Take the basil leaves and roll them tightly together. Cut thin slices across the roll to get thin ribbons of basil (aka chiffonade). Add the basil to the tomatoes and olives in the bowl.
  10. Add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice to the bowl along with the oregano, salt, pepper, and lemon zest.
  11. incorporate the ingredients, give it a taste test, and set aside in the fridge.
  12. Flip the halibut and squeeze lemon juice over each filet. Allow it finish cooking for another 5 minutes.
  13. Once the fish is done, remove to a plate and test the corner of one of the filets with a fork. it should easily flake.
  14. Remove the asparagus from the oven and use tongs (to get rid of any excess moisture) to plate it. Optionally, you can add lemon zest or parmesan to the asparagus.
  15. Plate each portion of fish and top with the tomato salata from earlier.
  16. And yay! it’s finished and ready to serve!

if you make this recipe and have any feedback, please send me a message/comment. I absolutely love hearing from readers! Thank you as always for visiting and see y’all soon!

-xo Grace

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