Crispy Skinned Halibut in Orange Saffron Scented Broth with Tomatoes, Olives & Fennel
Serves: 2 Difficulty: Moderate Cook Time: 30 - 35 min
Ingredients and Shopping List:☐ 2 GoodFish halibut portions, thawed overnight in the fridge or by submerging sealed fish in cold water for 45 minutes
☐ 2 tbsp. neutral tasting oil with a high smoke point (I like grapeseed, canola works too)
☐ Salt and pepper (I use white pepper for fish)
☐ ⅓ cup leeks white part only, thinly sliced
☐ ¼ cup finely diced shallot (approx. ½ whole shallot)
☐ ⅓ cup fennel bulb, thinly sliced
☐ Fennel leaves, for garnish
☐ ⅓ cup strained tomatoes (passata)
☐ 6 pitted kalamata olives, drained
☐ 1 clove garlic, minced or grated with a microplane
☐ Zest of half an orange
☐ ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
☐ 1 sprig fresh thyme
☐ 1 bay leaf
☐ ¼ tsp. or a pinch of saffron threads (optional, but if I was serving at a dinner party I definitely would)
☐ ¾ tsp. Dashi powder
☐ ¼ cup dry white wine
☐ 2 tbsp. rice flour
☐ 1 cup water
☐ Crusty bread, sliced, for serving (optional, for GF lose the bread)
☐ Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Prepare Halibut
- Drain fish and thoroughly pat dry with paper towel.
- Season both sides of fish with salt and white pepper (can use black too but white pepper is nicer for fish and for searing in general because the grind is so fine it won’t burn like black pepper) then coat with the rice flour.
2. Sear Halibut
- Heat neutral oil in large stainless steel saucepan over medium heat (has to be stainless for crispy skin, can use a medium stainless frying pan with high sides if you don’t have a saucepan)
- Once hot and oil is shimmering, shake excess rice flour from fish and transfer to pan, skin side down. Using a spatula, press down on the fillets to ensure all of the skin is in contact with the pan as it will buckle once it hits the hot oil and we want to stop that.
- Cook undisturbed for 3–4 minutes, or until the skin is golden and crispy.
- Carefully flip fillets with spatula and cook for 30 seconds–1 minute to get some colour then set fillets aside on a plate. Fish will be slightly undercooked but that’s ok because it will finish cooking in the broth.
3. Prepare Broth
- Keep the pan at medium heat and add the leeks, shallots, and fennel bulb. Cook 3–4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and turning golden.
- Add garlic, red pepper flakes, and white wine. Cook, stirring regularly, until wine has almost evaporated.
- Add water, strained tomatoes, olives, orange zest, saffron, dashi powder, thyme sprig, and bay leaf and bring to a simmer. Cook at medium-low for 10–12 minutes to allow the flavours to come together.
- Taste broth and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
4. Finish Halibut and Serve
- Transfer halibut fillets skin side up into broth. We do not want the fillets to be fully submerged – We want the skin to stay crispy so make sure it’s not touching the broth. Cook 1–2 minutes, or until the halibut is warmed through. We don’t want to overcook it! It’s precious.
- Transfer halibut skin side up back to side plate.
- Use tongs to remove and discard thyme sprig and bay leaf from the broth. Ladle broth into shallow serving bowls.
- Place halibut fillets skin side up into the centre of bowls. Again, we want the skin to stay crispy so make sure it’s not submerged in the broth. It’s also more beautiful served this way.
- Garnish with fennel leaves and a drizzle of nice extra virgin olive oil. I don’t chop them, I just pick off bite size (big bite size for me personally) pieces.
- Serve with crusty bread, if desired.
- Modern take on bouillabaise
- Fancy enough to be served at a dinner party but easy enough for a weeknight
- One pan, so easy cleanup
- Gluten free if you don’t serve it with bread
- This is a really good method for cooking halibut, which people often complain of being dry when they cook it at home (or even when they order it at restaurants)