I never thought the day would come when I became more adept at cooking fish, but it has and there’s no one happier about it than me. The challenge now is to find a variety of ways to make fish more interesting. And I think this recipe does the trick.
Cooking any kind of fish can be tricky because there is a fine line between the fish being underdone and overdone. It takes time and experience to get a feel for cooking fish but it is a skill that is well worth the energy. We try to have fish a couple of times a week now and I am constantly researching creative but easy ways to serve it. I really like this particular recipe for its flavor, and the relish is easy to prepare and can accompany just about any kind of mild white fish (or even grilled chicken).
Lesson Learned 1 – When pan searing fish, use a combination of butter and olive oil to cook the fish: You use this combination for a reason. Olive oil has a higher smoke point than butter and by combining them you can cook the fish at a higher temperature without burning the butter and you’ll still be getting that rich butter flavor. For this particular recipe I had pieces of halibut that were 1 inch thick and about 2 inches by 1 1/2 inches in length and width. Obviously the thicker the piece of fish the longer the cooking time. These particular pieces took between 9 – 10 minutes to cook.
Lesson Learned 2 – You can be creative with the relish ingredients: I chose a relish that was a combination of a yellow sweet pepper, Roma tomato, shallots, baby crimini mushrooms and minced garlic. I liked the combination of flavors and colors. But really you can make it out of anything you have on hand. I decided to cook the relish and the fish in two separate pans versus cooking the fish and keeping it warm in foil while I made the relish in the same pan as the fish. This particular relish took about 10 minutes to cook so it closely matched the cooking time of the fish filets. I started out sautéing the peppers and mushrooms for about 4 – 5 minutes. Then I added the shallots and garlic and last the tomatoes. I was able to time it so that the fish and the relish were done almost at the same time. The trick is to know your relish ingredients and how long they take to cook so you can cook them in the proper time and order. If for some reason you can’t time them to be done closely together, my recommendation would be to cook the relish and keep it warm and cook the fish so that it can be served immediately.
If you think you’re not a fish lover then you definitely have to try this recipe. I’ve written this recipe to serve two but you can certainly adapt it for more servings. The relish is a great enhancement to the fish and will make you think differently about serving fish regularly. Give it a try and tell me what you think!
Pan Seared Halibut With Sweet Pepper and Mushroom Relish…
2 (6 ounce) halibut filets
3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
1 Tbs. butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 -2 tsp. garlic powder
1 – 2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
salt and pepper (to taste)
1 shallot, sliced
1 – 2 cloves of garlic, minced (again to taste)
1/2 cup sweet pepper, any color
5-6 medium sized baby crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 medium – large size Roma tomato, seeded and chopped
1 Tbs. sherry cooking wine
1 Tbs. flat leaf parsley, chopped
Combine flour, garlic powder and Old Bay Seasoning. Dredge the fish filets on both sides in the flour, shaking off any excess. Set aside.
Heat 2 Tbs. of olive oil in a pan. Add peppers and mushrooms and sauté for approximately 3-5 minutes. Once you’ve started cooking the peppers and mushrooms, heat the remaining olive oil and butter in another pan until the butter is melted. Season the fish filets with salt and pepper and add them to this pan seasoned side down (I also added a touch of Old Bay Seasoning on top along with the salt and pepper). Season the other side of the filets with salt and pepper (and Old Bay, if desired). Let the filters cook for approximately 4-5 minutes before turning. Cook on the second side until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork (approximately another 4- 5 minutes). Keep in mind that the thickness of the filet will determine the cooking time, obviously the thicker the filet the longer the time.
Once the peppers and mushrooms in the other pan have softened add the shallots and garlic and cook for an additional 2- 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and sherry cooking wine and cooking for another couple of minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the parsley and serve over the fish filets.