Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Slow Roasted Alaska Halibut with Fennel & Tomatoes Recipe

When I was growing up we had a second freezer that I swear was packed full of halibut. My father got it somewhere and we ate it for what seemed like years. I remember that it was dry, tough and somewhat stringy. Was it terribly freezer burned? Only recently my mother told me it might not have been halibut. What it actually was will forever remain a mystery. But it was years before I tried halibut again and imagine my surprise to discover that it is a delicate, creamy and luscious fish.

Recently I was in Alaska to learn more about seafood so naturally I went fishing. Our boat caught a tremendous amount of halibut. Halibut can be very big fish and now I've come full circle and am enjoying having a freezer full of it. I believe the secret to cooking halibut is to be extremely gentle. It cooks up wonderfully when roasted slowly and is much harder to overcook at low temperatures. In this recipe you roast vegetables at high heat, give the fish a little rest at room temperature with a  spice rub and then coat the fish with the juicy vegetables to help keep it moist while cooking it ever so slowly.

In 2014 Americans ate over 100 pounds red meat and about 100 pounds of poultry per capita, but only around 14 pounds of fish and seafood That's a shame because seafood is really good and even a small serving can be very satisfying. I find about 4 ounces is plenty.

Some more things to know about Alaska seafood 

* It's healthy--3 1/2 ounces cooked halibut has 140 calories, 27 grams of protein and 460 mg of Omega 3

* It's easy to cook

* It can be prepared very quickly

Note:  If you don't have cherry or grape tomatoes, just use diced Roma tomatoes instead.

Slow Roasted Alaska Halibut with Fennel & Tomatoes 
Serves 4

Ingredients

1 cup thinly sliced fennel bulb
2 cups halved cherry or grape tomatoes 
4 garlic cloves thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 halibut filets, about 4 - 5 ounces each
1/2 teaspoon paprika—any kind is fine, smoked, sweet or hot
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Instructions 

Preheat oven to 450°.

Lined a roasting pan or baking dish with foil. Layer on the fennel then garlic and top with the tomatoes Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile combine the paprika, salt, and onion powder. Pat dry the fish and sprinkle evenly with the spice mixture. Let the fish rest at room temperature while the vegetables are roasting. 

When vegetables have roasted for 15 minutes, remove them from the oven and immediately lower the oven temperature to 200 degrees. Push the vegetables to the side of the pan. Place the filets in the center of the pan and pile the vegetables on top of the filets. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 20 minutes. 

Enjoy! 

Disclaimer: My thanks to Alaska Seafood for hosting me on my trip to Alaska. I was not compensated monetarily to write this or any other post on Cooking with Amy.