Mild flavored and pearly white, there is nothing like fresh Alaskan halibut. I’m always happy when spring arrives and halibut comes into season. With a container of organic Sugar Plum tomatoes left over from a catered dinner the night before, I had my inspiration for roast halibut with roast baby tomatoes.
Roast Halibut with Roast Baby Tomatoes
While fresh halibut is pricey, I keep the portions just right and know that's it's cheaper than going to a restaurant for a nice dinner. The roast tomatoes make a terrific savory accompaniment.
I tossed halved tomatoes with a generous tablespoon of fresh chopped thyme from my garden, a couple cloves of finely minced fresh garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted them until they shriveled and started to brown a bit at the edges.
Roasting tomatoes develops an amazing flavor as their sweetness concentrates and the fresh thyme is a great compliment.
Roast Halibut: Fast and Healthy Dinner
Searing halibut on the stovetop then finishing in a hot oven is a restaurant trick. The whole process took just 10 minutes in total. Brocclini made an easy side dish for this fast, healthy dinner, all in about 25 minutes.
How to Buy Fish
When you buy fresh halibut figure 4-6 ounces per person (and 4 will do). That’s not only portion control, but budget control. The filet I purchased was very thick; two inches to be exact.
If not already done, cut the halibut into 4 portions. If there is any dark purple flesh on the bottom I carefully trim if off with a sharp filet knife.
A Note On Fish and Seasons
In the winter when I can only get thinner local (Mexican) halibut filets, I still make this by adjusting the cooking time down. For thin filets it might take just a minute or two in the oven or you might even be able to cook it just on the stove top. Fresh cod filets work too. Get what looks good in your local area.
How to Cook the Halibut: Sear and Roast
Season fish with salt, pepper, and granulated garlic. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat and drizzle in a little olive oil. When the oil is hot but not smoking, place the halibut filets in the pan presentation side (or top side) down. The fish should sizzle when it hits the hot pan. Allow the halibut to sear for about three minutes, until it has a golden crust when you peak underneath. Carefully turn the fish over and sear for one minute longer.
Place halibut on a parchment or foil lined rimmed baking sheet and roast at 425 degrees for approximately 6 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. If the filets are thinner they will roast more quickly.
How to Know When the Fish is Done
Your halibut should still be moist and barely translucent in the center, not dry and flaky. Don’t over cook it. If your are not sure, use a digital thermometer. The fish should reach 145°F in the center. It will feel firm but still have just a little give.
Without a digital thermometer, do this. Test if your fish is done is by using a thin metal skewer or cake tester tool. Place it in the middle of the filet for a 5 seconds and remove it. Hold it close to your upper lip or inner wrist to feel the heat. Sounds crazy but it works. If the center is warm, not hot, the fish should be ready.
Finish the Halibut and Serve
To serve, drizzle with a little finishing olive oil and a squeeze of lemon, then spoon on the tomatoes. Garnish with chopped parsley, thyme or chives if desired.
Roast Halibut with Roast Baby Tomatoes
- Non-stick pan for fish
- Half sheet baking tray for tomatoes
Roast Baby Tomatoes
- 16 ounces organic sweet baby tomatoes halved
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 ½ tablespoons fresh chopped thyme leaves
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 4 ounce thick halibut filets
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt to taste
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 4 lemon wedges optional
Remove Halibut from Refrigerator
- If the fish is cold from the refrigerator, allow it to stand at room temperature for 45 minutes to get the chill off. Start the tomatoes while the fish is warming up. Cover a rimmed backing sheet with parchment or foil and set aside for roasting the halibut.
Roast the Tomatoes
- Pre-heat the oven to 375°F degrees.vCover a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment. In a small bowl, toss halved tomatoes with olive oil, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Spread tomatoes on the baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes until shriveled and edges are just starting to turn a bit brown. Timing will depend on your oven. Mine take 25 minutes on the convection setting.
Cook the Halibut
- Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Place a non-stick skillet or fry pan over medium heat and add oil. Season halibut with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot but not smoking, place the halibut top side down in the pan. Allow a golden crust to form, about 3 minutes. Turn the halibut over and sear 1 minute longer. Remove the halibut to your prepared baking sheet.
- Roast in the oven for approximately 6 minutes for 2″ thick filets. If your filets are thinner, roast for a shorter time. When done, halibut will be moist and barely opaque in the center.
Serve the Halibut
- Serve with a drizzle of good olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon, topped with the roasted baby tomatoes. Any extra tomatoes will keep in the refrigerator well covered for a few days and can be enjoy warm or even cold in a salad.