Halibut Romesco

We’ve been finding some pretty good deals on wild halibut fillets at Costco recently, and the best part is that the portion size is almost reasonable. I decided to make a romesco sauce to brighten up what could otherwise be a pretty palid meal. I adapted this recipe with what I had available, using a combination of roasted red pepper and rehydrated ancho in place of the piquillos, almonds in place of the hazelnuts, and canned diced tomato. It came out very flavorful, but spicier than I had anticipated, right on the limits of what I can comfortably eat. Granted, what I can comfortably eat is pretty darn mild by many people’s standards, and Jeremy had no problem with it.

We ate about half of the fish for dinner, and the leftovers went into a batch of fishcakes the next night. I broke up the fish, and filled it out with some shredded russet potato, a handful of bread crumbs, and some finely diced red bell pepper for flavor. Then I added an egg and a dollop of mayonnaise as a binder, and seasoned it all with a few tablespoons of leftover romesco and some smoked paprika. While the fish cakes were pan-frying, I quickly whisked together the last little bit of romesco with some mayonnaise for a dipping sauce, and made a basic salad with sherry vinaigrette to continue the Spanish flavors. This was a perfect way to spin a relatively small amount of leftover halibut into a second hearty meal.

Halibut Romesco

9 oz diced canned tomato (or 1 large tomato, roasted and diced)
1/2 C toasted almonds (about 2 1/2 ounces)
1/2 C coarsely chopped drained roasted red pepper
1 dried ancho chile, stemmed and seeded, and rehydrated in hot water, chopped
4 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp sherry wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 T unsalted butter
4 6-ounce halibut fillets
1/2 C low-salt chicken broth

Chop nuts in processor; add tomato, peppers, 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, paprika, vinegar, salt, and cayenne, then puree. Transfer romesco sauce to bowl. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Melt butter with remaining 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add halibut and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side (fish will not be cooked through). Transfer halibut to plate.

Add broth to same skillet and bring to boil; stir in romesco sauce. Add halibut; reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until halibut is opaque in center, about 2 minutes. Transfer halibut to plates. Spoon romesco sauce over, and serve.

Source: Adapted from Epicurious.

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