Halibut is one of my favourite fish to cook and eat because of its delicate texture and flavour. When shopping, look for sustainably harvested fish that does not have a strong fishy aroma. Because the fillets are generally of an even thickness, they are easy to cook fairly quickly over medium-high heat. Pistachios are a great alternative to an all-breadcrumb coating as they add nice crunch and flavour. Similarly, the golden beets are a nice option instead of rice, potatoes or other side dishes. I love the caper-based tartar sauce but you could use traditionally flavoured sauce if you prefer; the fish is so tasty on its own that even just a squeeze of lemon is sufficient. I like to serve this dish with kale salad for a nice pop of colour and texture on the plate.
For the fish
- 1 cup (250 mL) milk
- 12 ounce (350 grams) portion boneless, skinless halibut
- ½ cup (50 grams) finely chopped pistachios
- ¼ cup (15 grams) Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- 1 teaspoon (2 grams) freshly-ground coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) grainy Dijon (can use regular Dijon if you prefer)
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) olive oil
- Lemon wedges (garnish)
For the beets
- 2 medium sized golden beets
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) olive oil
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) rice vinegar
For the tartar sauce
- ¼ cup (60 mL) mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL)rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) minced capers
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) minced shallots
- ¼ – ½ teaspoon (1 – 3 mL) chili paste (Sambal Oelek)
- Put the fish in a bowl or other dish just large enough to hold it. Pour the milk over top and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to two hours. This produces a moister and more flavourful end result, particularly if the halibut was previously frozen.
- Wash and peel the beets; cut into ¼ inch (6 mm) thick slices.
- In a large skillet that has a lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the beets to the pan and stir well to coat them evenly with the oil.
- Cover the pan and cook the beets until tender, stirring occasionally. This will take approximately 20 – 30 minutes. When the beets are tender (pierce them with the tip of a sharp knife to test), add the vinegar, shake the pan to distribute, and remove from heat.
- Combine all ingredients for the tartar sauce and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Combine chopped pistachios and panko in a broad, shallow bowl.
- With a spoon or your fingers, spread the Dijon evenly over the fish fillet. This will help the crust adhere to the fish.
- Place the fish fillet in the pistachio-panko mixture and press down lightly so the crumbs adhere to the fish. Gently turn the fish over and press again; do the same for the narrow sides. Use your fingertips to add crumbs to coat any bare spots as needed.
- Once the fish is coated, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium-sized, heavy duty skillet (use cast iron if you have it).
- When the oil is hot, gently add the fish to the pan and reduce heat to medium.
- Cook for 4 minutes and carefully turn the fish over in the pan. After an additional 3 minutes of cooking on the second side, start checking the internal temperature of the fish; it is ready when it reaches 125F.
- To serve, divide the beet slices among two warmed dinner plates. With a spatula, gently cut the cooked halibut in half and lay the fish on top of the beets. Garnish with a generous dollop of tartar sauce and a lemon wedge.