Here is a yummy way to serve halibut. I first made this for a wedding five years ago. It was requested by the bride and groom, who gave me the recipe (Thank you, Kristin and Eric!), and it is now a staple in my repertoire.
The couple brought in fresh halibut for me to grill for their wedding reception. Let me tell you, in all my years as a chef, I have had a lot of men ask me if I needed help grilling—but never as many as offered on that day. Thankfully they were all quite impressed by how the fish turned out—despite not having cooked it themselves.
Chermoula is a marinade made of herbs, oil, lemon juice, and other seasonings, and is often used in Moroccan, Tunisian or Algerian cuisines. Here’s more information from Wikipedia.
I recently prepared this dish for dinner with friends, when I served it with Emmer Farro Pilaf, Asparagus-Edamame-Snap Pea Salad, and a Savory Spring Galette.
Halibut with Chermoula Sauce
2 lbs. halibut filet
1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons sweet chili sauce (Omit if on the Whole30 challenge)
¼-½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon cumin, ground
2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ cup virgin olive oil
Put all of the sauce ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and purée until smooth.
To prepare the halibut, rinse the fish and pat it dry with a paper towel. Removing any excess moisture enables the chermoula to adhere to the fish.
Start by sprinkling the fish with kosher salt. Spread the sauce generously over the top of the uncooked fish. You can choose to use one large filet or cut the fish into individual portions, and it can either be baked or grilled. I grilled a 2-pound filet on a preheated grill over medium-high heat, which took about 22 minutes with the lid closed. Your cooking time will depend on the heat of your grill and the thickness of the fish. The piece I cooked was just under 2 inches thick. I placed my fish skin-side down on a heated and greased grill, but you could put the fish on a greased piece of foil on the grill. I did not flip the fish to keep as much of the sauce flavor as possible.
Tina’s Tip: You might not need all of the sauce to cook the fish, but if you have leftovers, it is also great on chicken.
This recipe can easily be doubled or even quadrupled if needed. For the wedding five years ago, I actually multiplied the recipe by 30—to make enough for 60 pounds of fish.
Note: I adapted this from an original recipe from Tom Douglas’s Lola restaurant in Seattle.
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I haven’t tried the halibut yet, it sounds wonderful. Do you have any experience using a grill pan? I wonder if there’s anything valuable other than the grill marks. Could the fish be cooked on a grill pan in the oven, which may not be any different that putting it on tinfoil on the grill.
I have used a grill pan on occassion. They are a useful tool for grill marks if you do not own a grill (or do not want to grill outside.) Cooking in cast iran pans is also a great way to get iron in your diet.
As far as cooking the halibut, baking it is fine. When I grill the halibut with chermoula I do so skin side down the entire time and keep the grill covered. Therefore, never making grill marks.
I hope this help. Thank you for the question.
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