Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Halibut with Red Pepper Harissa

Last week I was at one of the "big" grocery stores near the village I call home these days. I got really excited when I read that they had just received a shipment of fresh halibut, but could not figure out where they were hiding it. I asked the man at the fish counter for 4 pieces of halibut, expecting to see the big steak-style cuts of halibut that I used to get at home. It turns out they thinly fillet their halibut in Switzerland, making it really delicate and tricky to work with. But I was determined to give this recipe a try, so I bought the halibut and get to work. If you can find the halibut steaks, this fish will look much nicer.

The red pepper harissa in this dish is amazing. I made this for myself and 3 guys and we devoured every last drop of it. I could have probably made more since we ended up pouring it over our rice as well. As with all spicy foods, just cut back on the amount of chile peppers you use. I used 3 little red Thai chilies since we don't have jalapeños over here, but we all liked spicy food. The spicy kick is great in this recipe, but you could probably omit the jalapeño entirely if you don't do well with heat. The spices and the roasted red pepper will make a great topping to any kind of white fish.

Recipe from Bon Appétit July 2008

1 red jalapeño chile or 2 to 3 red Thai chilies
1 garlic clove, peeled
4 5- to 6-ounce halibut or mahi-mahi fillets
2 large red bell peppers, quartered lengthwise, seeded
2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon, quartered

2 teaspoons ground coriander, divided
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 400ºF/200ºC. On a baking sheets, toss the peppers, jalapeño, and garlic with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Roast until charred, about 15 minutes.

Keep your oven on and sprinkle your halibut with 1/2 a teaspoon of cumin, 1/2 a teaspoon of coriander, and a sprinkle of salt. Place 1/2 a tablespoon of oil in an ovenproof pan over high heat. Sear the halibut for about 1 minute on each side, until it gets a little bit of color. Place in the pan in the oven for another 7 to 10 minutes, until just cooked.

Note: If you make this in the summer, you can thread the jalapeño and garlic on a skewer and grill them, along with the red peppers and fish. Grill everything over medium high heat and instead of tossing the veggies in oil brush them with oil. The fish should take 4 minutes per side and the veggies about 8 minutes per side.

In the meantime, peel the red peppers and jalapeño. Remove the stem of the jalapeño and place the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin, and 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander. Blend until the mixture forms a coarse puree. Generously season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place each fish fillet on a plate and squeeze lemon juice over it. Top with the harissa and serve. Pin It Now!

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