I am in serious detox mode right now, how about you? I didn’t indulge too much in the sweets and candy this Christmas, but I had my fair share of bread, carbs and cheese and let’s not forget the wine… That sort of indulgence leaves me feeling heavy, bloated and not as energetic as usual. So today I am back on my clean eating wagon with a green smoothie day and a healthy dinner tonight.
It really doesn’t get much healthier or simple than this pan fried halibut with fresh citrus salsa. Halibut is so fabulous for dinner because of its hearty meatiness. It has a light flavor on its own so it easily takes on the flavors of whatever you cook or serve it with, in this case a fruity and spicy salsa made with mango, grapefruit, red onion, cilantro and jalapeño. Sweet, fresh and tangy. It’s heavenly served on top of simply prepared halibut.
My favorite way to prepare any kind of fish is pan fried. I love that crispy, caramelized layer it gets on top and then its nice and flakey on the inside. Other than barbecued, it’s the only way we really eat fish. Plus, its so easy! And quick! All you have to do is season the fish, get your pan nice and hot, and then cook it until it has a nice crust on the bottom, flip it and throw it in the oven for a couple of mins to finish. Serve it with a side of veggies and maybe some rice or quinoa and you’re done!
I think some people are a little intimidated by cooking fish and I agree that it can be tricky if you don’t know how. Here are a couple tips to perfect pan fried fish every time:
- Medium-high heat on the pan. Let the pan sit at this heat till it comes to temperature
- Heavy bottomed skillet. Ceramic or stainless steel is best. Non-stick sometimes will not let the fish get a nice crust.
- Only a thin layer of oil in the pan. Use an oil with a higher smoke point. Grapeseed, Sunflower, Avocado, Coconut.
- When you place the fish in the pan. Don’t touch it! Just nudge it with a flipper after 3 mins. The pan will release the fish when its ready to be flipped. If it doesn’t come up easy after 3 mins, let it sit for 1 more min and try again.
Can we talk about how gorgeous this dish is for a second? The bright colors of the salsa really stand out in contrast to the white halibut and create this beautiful plate. Now this would be the perfect main course at a dinner party! It looks as if you’ve slaved over it, when you really haven’t, and the flavors are on point. Besides, a perfectly cooked piece of fish can always impress. Debbie and I think it lends itself well to a spring or summer dinner party as well as around this time of year when you are craving some lighter meals.
- 4 one inch thick fillets of wild halibut
- salt and pepper to season (maybe ¼ - ½ tsp of each for all 4 pieces)
- drizzle of sunflower or grapeseed oil for the pan
FOR THE SALSA
- 1 mango, peeled and diced
- 1 large grapefruit (or 2 small), peeled, segmented, and diced
- ½ red onion, diced
- ½ jalapeno, minced
- ½ bunch cilantro, chopped fine
- juice of 1 lime
- salt and pepper to taste (about ¼ tsp of each to start and go from there)
- Take the halibut out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature for 30 mins or so. Pat the fillets dry with paper towel. Season with salt and pepper.
- Make the salsa. Combine all the salsa ingredients into a bowl, stir and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Heat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat a large skillet to med-high heat. A heavy bottomed stainless steel or ceramic pan works best. You might need 2 medium pans instead depending on how big your fillets are. You must make sure that the fillets are not crowded in the pan or they wont get a nice sear or crust on them.
- When the pan, or pans, are nice and hot, drizzle some oil into the pan just so it has a thin layer. When the oil starts to shimmer and smoke slightly, place a fillet , flesh side down, in the pan laying it down in the pan away from you.
- Don't touch it! You will want to, but don't. Wait 3 mins and then try to lift the fish. If it lifts easy, flip it over. If it doesn't release easy, let it be for another min then try again. Don't poke at it or it could break up.
- Once the fish is flipped onto its skin, throw the pan in the oven for 4 - 6 mins per ½ inch thickness. We cooked the fillet in the pictures of this post for 8 mins.
- Remove from the oven, place on plates, top with salsa and serve immediately.