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What The Halibut — And A Food Gal Giveaway

Halibut cooked in olive oil — a lot of it.


Yes, this recipe uses a lot of olive oil.

Yes, you’ll wonder what to do with all that oil afterward.

Yes, you can strain it, store it in the fridge and re-use it.

But yes, it may taste fishy.

That’s because you’ve poached halibut in it, creating a warm, bountiful bath of olive oil to cook it gently and slowly until the flesh is moist and incredibly silky. Best yet, it’s almost impossible to overcook the fish with this oven method.

If you’ve never tried olive oil-poaching here’s your chance with this dish of “Olive Oil Poached Halibut with Chermoula.”

Bathed in olive oil.

The recipe is from the new cookbook, “Home and Away: Simple, Delicious Recipes Inspired by the World’s Cafes, Bistros and Diners” (Arsenal Pulp Press) by Darcy and Randy Shore, of which I received a review copy.

The premise behind the book by the British Columbia couple (he’s a food writer for the Vancouver Sun and she works at a cook’s supply store) is to offer up a culinary tour of the world through 140 recipes that have been simplified for the home kitchen. Eat your way through “Hong Kong Lunchbox Fried Rice” and “Bengali Cauliflower with Fragrant Rice and “Puri” to “Chicken Provencal” and “Buenos Aires Empanadas.”

I couldn’t wait to make this recipe after Daily Fresh Fish sent me a sample of Alaskan halibut to try. The online seafood market was launched last year by Hayward’s Pucci Foods, which was established in 1918 by Joe Pucci, an Italian immigrant. Pucci Foods has long supplied restaurants and retail stores. Now, it’s making that same seafood available directly to consumers.

The company, which sources seafood from all over the world, has a sustainable seafood certification from the Marine Stewardship Council. It also follows the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Guide and the NOAA Fish Watch Program.

While the halibut cooks, submerged in all that olive oil, make the chermoula by pulsing in a food processor cracked chilies, garlic, red onion, cilantro, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, and ras el hanout. You can buy that Moroccan spice blend in well-stocked grocery stores. Or make your own with the recipe that’s included below.

Halibut is mild-tasting on its own. This thick, creamy sauce wakes it up — without overwhelming it — with the warmth of spices kissed with fresh herbs and garlic. You can control how spicy you want it, too, by adding more or less of the chilies.

If you have any leftover sauce, it’s fabulous the next day cooked into scrambled eggs for breakfast.

And just think, you can use some of that leftover olive oil to cook those eggs in, too.

CONTEST: One lucky Food Gal reader will win two free orders of Alaskan halibut (four 6-ounce fillets; a total value of $33.98), plus two free containers of Fisherman’s Stew (two 22-ounce containers; a total value of $19.98) — all from Daily Fresh Fish. I had a chance to try the rich, tomato-y stew that is chock-full of cod, clams, shrimp and crab. It’s got a splash of milk in it to give it a slight creamy body, plus just a touch of spiciness on the finish. It’s so full of seafood flavor, it’s practically a restaurant-quality dish in and of itself.

Fisherman’s Stew from Daily Fresh Fish.

Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight PST April 22. The winner will be announced April 24.

How to win?

Just tell me something you did for the hell of it (or hal-i-but — get it?). It doesn’t have to be food-related, either. Best answer wins.

Here’s my own answer:

“When I was in my 20’s and sported a Halle Berry-esque pixie haircut, my hairdresser left one small section long, like a skinny little ponytail hidden in the back. Why? Who knows? But I kind of loved it. It was sort of my subtle badge of rebelliousness. At least for a few years. Until I grew out of it, and had my new hairdresser finally lop it off. But that’s the great thing about hair. You can do a lot to it for the hell of it, and both it and you will survive.”

Olive Oil Poached Halibut with Chermoula

(Serves 4)

1 pound halibut fillets, skin removed

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups olive oil

1 lemon, thinly sliced

For Chermoula:

1 teaspoon cracked chilies

1 teaspoon ras el hanout

1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 cup minced red onions

1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, packed

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, packed

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon kosher salt


Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Season fish on all sides with salt and place in a small baking dish. Let stand 15 minutes. Pour olive oil over fish, cover with lemon slices. cover dish with foil and bake until flaky, about 1 1/4 hours.

As fish cooks, make the sauce by placing all chermoula ingredients in a food processor. Lightly pulse all ingredients. Place in a bowl and let stant for 1 hour or overnight. (Makes about 1 cup.).

Using a slotted spatula, remove halibut from the olive oil to serving plates. Top with chermoula.

Ras El Hanout

(Makes 1/4 cup)

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves


Combine all ingredients in a small jar, secure lid, and shake.

The spice mix can be used on grilled meats, vegetables, and in sauces.

From “Home and Away” by Darcy and Randy Shore

More Halibut Recipes to Try: Haibut Kebabs with Grilled Bread and Pancetta

And: Halibut and Spinach with Orange-Pine Nut Vinaigrette

And: Sauteed Fillet of Halibut with Fennel and White Anchovies