How to Cook Like a Gourmet Chef: Pan Roasted Halibut with Cherry Tomatoes and Caper Buerre Blanc

How to Cook Like a Gourmet Chef: Pan Roasted Halibut with Cherry Tomatoes and Caper Buerre Blanc

Purchasing a freshly caught fish and turning it into a home-cooked meal is a fun and easy way to impress your family and friends with your cooking skills.  Fresh fish offers a variety of appetizing tastes and also provides a lot of protein and other nutrients including magnesium, phosphorus and potassium; the B vitamins B12, niacin, and B6; and perhaps most important, the beneficial omega-3 essential fatty acids.

One of my most favorable fish is Halibut, for its mildly sweet, yet meaty flavor and texture.  It is one of the finer fishes and you’ll notice it’s a bit more in price at your local fish market than many other varieties of fish, so I tend to order it at restaurants and cook it at home for special occasions.  Halibut is the largest of the flatfish and one of the largest of the saltwater fish with catches that weight in at up to 660 pounds.  Although you can find it in both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, it’s best to stay clear of Atlantic Halibut due to the fact it’s overfished.  Your best choice is with Alaskan Pacific Halibut.  I recommend talking to your fishmonger (person who sells the fish) at the store so you know where your Halibut is coming from and also make sure sustainable fishing practices are in place that led to it being caught.

Last year I took a cooking class with some colleagues from The City Kiitchen and was taught an amazing Halibut recipe that is fairly simple and will leave everyone thinking you’re a gourmet chef.  I’ve provided it here, and I guarantee you’ll love it.  Feel free to half the recipe to cater to your party size.

Pan Roasted Halibut with Cherry Tomatoes and Caper Buerre Blanc
Serves 8

Ingredients:

Halibut:
8 halibut filets (6 ounces each)
2 lemons, zested
2 tablespoons tarragon leaves, finely chopped – 1 for fish rub and 1 for garnish
1 tablespoon thyme leaves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons pepper
olive oil for pan

2 cups cherry tomatoes

Caper Buerre Blanc:
2 cups dry white wine
2 large shallots, finely diced (about 2/3 cup)
1 stick (1 cup) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup small capers, drained

Preparation:

Preheated the over to 400 degrees

Halibut:
Mix the lemon zest, 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon, and remaining
ingredients together in a small bowl.  Place the halibut on a baking
sheet line with parchment paper and sprinkle both sides of the fish
with the herb mixture.  cover with plastic and refrigerate for at
least 30 minutes, and up to 4 hours.

Heat two large non-stick saute pans over high heat until very hot.
Add enough olive oil to generously coat the bottom of the pan.
Carefully add the halibut to the pans, dividing the pieces equally
between each.  Cook the fish for 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden
brown.  Using a fish spatula, gently turn the fish over.  Add two
pints of cherry tomatoes to each pan, around the fish pieces.  Put the
pans in the oven and roast the fish for another 4 to 5 minutes, or
until just cooked through.  The fish should be flaky, with a lightly
opaque center.  Remove the pans from the oven – remember the handles
will be HOT.  Leave towels wrapped around the handles so you don’t
burn yourself.

Caper Buerre Blanc:

Heat the wine and shallot in a medium saucepan over high heat,
stirring occasionally, until the wine has reduced to what looks like a
glaze, 5 to 8 minutes.  Turn off the heat and whisk in the butter, a
few pieces at a time until melted and the sauce is thick and creamy.
Whisk in the lemon zest, juice and capers.  Let rest at room
temperature until read to use.  Right before serving, gently reheat
over a low flame until the sauce is warm.  Do not bring to a boil or
the sauce will separate.

To Serve:

Place fish pieces on a serving platter, surrounded by the tomatoes
Pour the buerre blanc over the fish, and then sprinkle with fresh
tarragon.