Bhāi Pheru OK, I confess: this recipe incorporates the type of flavors and cooking techniques I love best. Mediterranean saltiness and herbs, one tray cooking in the toaster oven (or conventional oven), beautiful colors to gaze upon, whole, seasonal foods … what could be better? Honestly, the texture of this dish is just sublime … the limes turn almost sweet and soft, the onions retain a bit of body and crunch but not a raw-onion taste and the then there’s the creaminess from the feta … heaven. Oh yes, I forgot to say that halibut is one of my all-time favorite fishes to eat so in my mind – enduring all the rainy, gray days here in the Pacific Northwest is worth it just to be able to buy the freshest, bestest seafood.
Halibut tends to be a little bland so I almost always start with a salt/sugar brine. However, in this case, the feta and olives add enough saltiness and flavor that brining is unnecessary. Since this fish tends to be expensive, either make it for special occasions or use another type of firm white fish – even lingcod would be fine. But Halibut is the “fish de resistance!”
I often make this in the summer months when I have lots of fresh herbs growing on the deck. It is saucy – almost like a fish stew – and I usually serve it over toasted, cooked quinoa pilaf or black rice, and accompany it with crusty fresh bread. Along with a simple salad you’ll hum your way through the meal.
- A smear of soft butter for your pan
- 1 ½ pounds of halibut filet, cut into 4 equal portions
- 1 white onion, sliced thin into semi circles
- 3 large organic limes, seeded and sliced the same thickness as the onion
- 16 small assorted, colorful cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 12 sprigs of herbs – either choose dill, cilantro, tarragon, or oregano or a mix
- ½ cup mixed brined olives, green and black (WITHOUT pits)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 ½ tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 20 grinds of fresh black pepper
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- ⅓ cup dry vermouth
Ingredients to Garnish
- ¼ cup of whole sprigs of fresh dill, cilantro, tarragon or whatever is growing in your garden
- ¼ cup chopped feta
Preheat oven or toaster oven with rack in the center to 425 degrees. Butter a casserole dish that will easily hold the fish filets.
Begin by putting a layer of onions on the bottom, then top with the sliced lime. Place the fish filets on top of this and scatter tomatoes, herbs and olives around the dish. Top each filet with drizzled olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika.
Pour vermouth around the sides of the dish.
Bake uncovered for about 15 minutes or until the fish is cooked to your liking.
Divide fish and veggies and all the olives etc into four shallow soup dishes and divide the liquid too. Top each serving with sprigs of fresh herbs and a sprinkle of chopped feta cheese.
Lick your lips!