It’s the season of Lent for over a Billion Catholics and christians around the world. From Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday those observing Lent abstain from meat on Fridays. Some how, it doesn’t seem right to enjoy a beautiful piece of baked halibut in place of Meat. It seems like more of a treat than a sacrifice. Lent is a 40 day period of sacrifice leading up to Jesus’ death and resurrection. This is a wonderful time to rethink and reevaluate everything and to allow ourselves to take up our crosses as Christ once did.
Whether you are observing lent or just looking for a fantastic dinner recipe this dish delivers. This baked halibut starts with a beautiful filet from Heinen’s Fish market. When shopping for halibut look for bright white glossy flesh. That’s exactly what I found.
This dish is slightly reminiscent of a Puttanesca. You may have enjoyed Spaghetti alla puttanesca which is an Italian pasta dish invented in Naples in the mid-20th century. Its ingredients typically include tomatoes, olive oil, anchovies, olives, capers and garlic. Yum! Why wouldn’t you put those ingredients anything? I’ve made it with various white flesh fishes and shrimp, even clams and mussels. SO, feel free to change up this recipe with your favorite protein. You can serve this with any starch you prefer. It is great with mashed potatoes but today I served it with linguini to mimic a puttanesca dish.
This dish has power! After making it and serving it for dinner I sent a photo of it to my son who attends college in Washington DC. I teased that he should come home because he was missing out on a great dinner. Well, yesterday I came home from shopping and as usual I walked into the kitchen to great my two youngest who were working on their homework at the kitchen counter. They had guilty looks on their faces and seemed to be waiting for me to realize what they had been up to. All of a sudden it dawned on me that the music I was hearing was coming from the piano in the living room. Only one of my kids plays the piano! I ran into the living room to find my sweet son who had pulled off the first EVER most amazing surprise. I’m NOT kidding generally nothing gets past me. Paul managed to pull off flying home without his parents having a clue. Maybe it was the baked halibut that tempted him to come home? What ever it was I’m beyond thrilled to have him here.
It goes into the oven looking just like this. Simply move some of those ingredients over and place the filets on the bottom of the pan. Spoon some of the ingredients and sauce onto the fish. All those delicious juices you made with the tomatoes, white wine, olives, capers, shallots and garlic will bake with the halibut to create amazing flavor.
Baked Halibut with White Wine, Olives, Capers and Tomatoes
You’ll see that I have only seasoned with pepper as the capers and olives lend plenty of salt to this dish. The shallots add a mild onion flavor without overpowering the dish. Keep your heat at medium so you don’t burn your shallots or garlic. Once they soften you can move on to the next step.
- Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
- 3 shallots, thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 10 ounces grape tomatoes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup dry white wine, divided
- 3 tablespoons capers
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
- 1 1/2 pounds thick-cut halibut fillet, de-boned
- 3 sprigs oregano, leaves only
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a cast-iron pan on medium heat, drizzle a little EVOO. Add the shallots and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
- Next, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes.
Once tomatoes start to soften, very carefully smash them using a potato masher. Don’t smash them too much, just enough to release their juices. Stir and season with pepper.
- Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup of the white wine, scrapping up any brown bits. Cook for 2-3 minutes to thicken slightly. Add in the capers and olives.
- Make a little space in the middle of the pan for the fish to sit. Place the fish in the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper.