Saturday, July 30, 2011

Blackened Halibut with Tomatillo Relish and Cilantro-Lime Rice

We were wanting to go with a little lighter fare for dinner tonight so we picked up some fish on our way home.  Market Street has a decent fish counter and they had a whole halibut filet that was about an inch and a half thick and 2 feet long. We had them cut us off a nice size piece and went about trying to figure out what to make with it. I was thinking some kind of  salsa/relish and some rice so I grabbed some tomatillos, bell pepper, onion and tomato and threw a few limes into the basket.  All set.  What turned out was a great dinner. I don't cook fish that often but my skills with it are getting better. 

I made up my own blackening seasoning with what I had on hand.  I made the relish on the fly with what I thought would be some things that tasted good together.  I cheated on the fish. We looked up the correct temperature for doneness and used a digital probe.  I would highly recommend this with a large piece of fish like we had. It came out absolutely perfect. Not dry or undercooked but soft, moist and flaky like is should have been.  Here's the recipe.

Blackened Halibut


1 Good sized piece of fresh halibut. About 1 1/2 - 2 lbs
1 Tablespoon Spanish Paprika
1 Teaspoon garlic powder
1 Teaspoon onion powder
1 Teaspoon Chile Powder (Ancho or New Mexico)
2 Teaspoons Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
1 1/2 Teaspoons Black Peppercorns
2 Teaspoons vegetable oil

Put a cast iron griddle or skillet over high heat. Add the oil and brush it around with a paper towel to that the entire surface is coated. Get the skillet smoking hot.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and add a little oil to a 9x13 baking dish. Set this aside.

Add all the spices to a spice grinder or mortar & pestle.  Grind until a fine powder is formed.  Coat the entire fish liberally making sure to press the rub into the fish so it sticks.

Put the fish skin side (or the side where the skin was) down on the cast iron. Cook it for about 5 minutes or until it forms a nice dark crust on bottom. Flip it over and do the same thing.
Once both sides are blackened move the fish to the baking dish and place uncovered into the oven.  Bake until the fish is flaking apart and done in the center. Use a digital probe to monitor the temperature in the center of the fish if you have one. (145 degress in the center is perfect) It takes away the guess work.  My fish took about 30 minutes to cook after searing. 

Remove from the oven. The fish is ready to portion and serve.

Tomatillo Relish


5 Medium Tomatillos, cored and diced
1 Yellow Bell Pepper. Seeded and diced
2 Ripe Tomatoes, juice and seeds removed, diced.
2 Tablespoons diced Red Onion
2 Teaspoons Olive Oil
2 Teaspoons Goya Adobo Seasoning
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper

In a medium size bowl toss the tomatillos, bell pepper, onion, tomato, adobo, pepper and oil.  Set aside while the fish is cooking.  When the fish get so 135 degrees (or close to being done) heat a skillet over high heat. Add the mixture to the skillet and cook over high heat until the bell pepper starts to soften. Transfer to a bowl.  (Note:  The addition of some sort of fruit would have been good in this as well. I was thinking mango or even pineapple)

Final Preparation

Place a good sized serving of Cilantro-Lime Rice into the center of a plate. Place a piece of the halibut on top of the rice then top with a tablespoon or two of the relish.  Serve with a lemon wedge if you like but its not necessary. The acidity in the relish is plenty for the fish.  


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