This dish is deceptively easy and unfailingly impressive.
Halibut is a dense and firm fish, elegant with a beautifully white flesh, substantial and filling. The flavor combination of pistachio and fennel really gets to shine as the crust to the top of the halibut filets. If you want to take this dish to the next level, serve this fish atop a puddle of my Meyer Lemon Sauce and you'll want to make this again and again!
Essential equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; measuring spoons; mini food processor; small rubber spatula; large non-stick sauté pan with a tight-fitting lid; fish spatula
Ingredients: 2 tablespoons fennel seed, ground 2 tablespoons ground pistachios
4, 6-ounce halibut filets, skin on
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped (optional garnish)
1. Process the pistachios and fennel seeds in a mini food processor until ground to a fine meal (see photo below).
"If you don't like the flavor of fennel, you could use a different spice, such as cumin or coriander. Use this technique with any nut-spice combination you like."
2. Season both sides of each halibut filet with salt and pepper. Press the pistachio-fennel mixture onto the presentation side of the fish.
3. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large nonstick sauté pan over medium heat until the butter foams. Sear the crusted side of the fish for about 2-3minutes, reducing the heat to medium-low if necessary to avoid burning the nuts.
ILOC tip: using both butter and olive oil accomplishes two worthy goals: the olive oil raises the smoke point of the butter, helping to prevent the nut crust from burning, while the butter provides a delectable, buttery flavor.
4. Gently flip the fish and continue cooking for another 6-8 minutes, or until the fish is cooked, covered with a lid.
5. To serve, place the filets on plates, spoon the Meyer Lemon Sauce around and sprinkle with fresh parsley.
Makes 4 servings.