One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to cook more fish at home. Why? Because fish is really good and, generally, very healthy. Can’t be eating red meat and red wine every night, right?
So on Friday I headed over to the fish market at Marche Atwater and perused the display. The fresh halibut caught my eye on this particular visit so I picked up a nice filet (skin on). A quick stop at the SAQ to grab a bottle of chardonnay and then back home for a nice Friday meal. Halibut and tomatoes seem like a natural pairing and in my world everything is better if it’s spicy, so I conjured up a pan fried halibut with a spicy tomato salsa.
Ingredients (for one large filet)
- 5 cocktail sized on the vine tomatoes, some cut in half and some cut in quarters
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 of a lemon (I had some Meyer lemons in the fridge. They’re sweeter than normal lemons. Normal ones would do as well.)
- 1 tsp finely chopped fresh red chili pepper
- pinch of dried thyme
- two splashes of white wine
- salt and pepper (to season the fish)
- olive oil
For the Salsa:
- Heat a bit of olive oil over medium heat in a non stick frying pan.
- Add the garlic and sautee for a minute. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the tomatoes, chili pepper and juice of half a lemon and sautee for another 4 minutes.
- Add the thyme and stir.
- Add the wine and stir until wine is reduced to about 1/4 of the volume, about another 3 minutes.
For the Halibut
- Rinse the filet, and pat it dry with paper towels. Get it as dry as possible.
- Season the flesh side with salt and pepper.
- Heat a bit of olive oil over medium-high heat in a non stick frying pan.
- When the oil is hot, add the halibut, skin side down.
- Let it cook skin side down for 6 minutes. Now, the key is not to move the filet, just let it cook. It will look like it’s sticking to the pan, but when it’s ready to flip it will release from the pan very easily.
- After 6 minutes, lower the heat to medium, flip the halibut and let it cook flesh side down for about 4 minutes (again, don’t move it until it moves easily).
- Depending on how thick your filet is, you may need another few minutes at this point. If you do, flip the fish back onto its skin side for the remainder of the time. I gave mine another 2 minutes. When the fish is completely opaque and flakes easily it is ready.
- Plate the fish, skin side down, squeeze some more lemon juice on it and spoon the tomato salsa over it.
This was actually the first time I had made halibut at home and it confirmed my view that I need to make fish at home more often. Halibut is a great tasting fish on its own, so the salt and pepper was really all that was needed to season it. The method that I used also produced a nice crust on the fish which enhanced the natural flavour. The tomato salsa had a bit of a spicy kick and a nice tanginess from the lemon. Wine tends to make everything better and this case was no exception; it added a nice acidity to the salsa. With a side of steamed bok choy, this was a healthy and delicious meal that took all of 20 minutes to prepare. I’ll definitely be making it again.