This is another dinner that can easily go from fridge to table in 20 minutes – you just need to remember to preheat your oven a few minutes before you get started cooking. The sauce and salsa can be prepped while the halibut is baking. Halibut is in season and relatively fairly priced (it’s all relative, isn’t it?), especially at stores like Costco. Baked quickly at a high temperature it will be firm and moist. Make sure not to over-bake it. Dry halibut is disappointing, but avoidable if you pay attention. We had dry halibut at a fancy-pants restaurant (not to name names but it was at the high-end restaurant at the Montage in Laguna Niguel). They had cooked that fish so long and so hard that it would have been great as a doorstop, or paving material. It was all I could do to resist the urge to storm the kitchen to lecture the line cooks on how easy it is to cook halibut correctly. I find baking fish at 400 degrees for 20 minutes works like a charm for salmon, halibut and swordfish.
Baked Halibut with Kalamata Olive Puree and Tomato Salsa (4-6 servings)
- 1 ½ -2 lbs fresh halibut
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- One 12-oz jar pitted Kalamata olives packed in olive oil (do not drain)
- 2 large cloves garlic (or 3 small ones)
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, chopped
- 3/4 cup Vidalia or Maui onion, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Brush half of the olive oil on a sheet pan, or cookie sheet. Set the halibut on the sheet. Brush the remaining olive oil on the fish. Do not salt the fish – the kalamata puree is salty, you don’t need any additional salt on the fish. Bake the fish for 18-20 minutes until it is just cooked through (the exact time will depend on the thickness of the fish and how cold it was when you popped it in the oven).
While the fish is baking place the kalamata olives and the olive oil in which they were packed in a blender. Add the garlic, Parmesan cheese and mayonnaise. Process on high until smooth. This is one of the easiest sauces to make. You’ll likely have some left over. Use it as a spread on sandwiches, or with a quickly sautéed chicken breast. It might even work as a facial scrub, I just haven’t had time to try it.
In a medium bowl mix together the tomatoes and the onions.
Once the halibut is cooked cut it into four-six servings. Spoon kalamata puree over the fish. Split the tomato/onion mixture into equal servings and spoon over the fish. Sprinkle the chives on top. Serve immediately.