OK, I admit it… I have Spring fever. We have had a few rare and perfect days here in Boston recently that have made me crave warmer weather and the foods that go with it. Unfortunately, the weather has not been 100% in line with what I wish it were. However, there are ways that I can bring that feeling home, even on the nastiest evenings when winter is drawing its last gasps.
On a recent trip to the grocery store on a cold and nasty evening, I noticed some gorgeous line caught Halibut steaks. If you’re concerned about sustainable fishing practices, Halibut is a good one to be eating. The “fish-able” populations are in good shape, and nutritionally, it’s an excellent source of protein and is low in fat. They were a little on the pricey side, but I couldn’t resist. They were odorless, indicating their freshness, and had a beautiful pink marble color. It has a mild flavor and a firm and meaty texture. It can easily stand up to grilling, so I was inspired to do just that. Grilling, of course, also makes me think of warmer weather.
I marinated the Halibut in some of my favorite things: white vermouth, olive oil, garlic, thyme, chili flakes, salt, pepper, and tomato powder. I let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours and took it out about twenty minutes before I was ready to grill it. I used my trusty grill pan, since we don’t have access to an outside area suitable to keep a grill in our apartment. It’s not as good as grilling over charcoal, but you do still get the lovely grill marks and a bit of the flavor from the outdoors.
I grilled the fish for eight minutes on each side, following the James Beard rule. He recommends twenty minutes for each inch of fish – I wanted to allow a couple of minutes off of the heat for carry-over cooking, so I shaved a few minutes off to allow for “resting” time. The heat was medium-ish – I wanted the fish to cook slowly enough so that it would cook evenly without drying out. The olive oil in the marinade helped achieve the grill marks without burning since Halibut is fairly lean. The other flavors in the marinade came through subtly and added a lovely complexity without overpowering the mild flavor of the Halibut. I finished it off with a squeeze of lemon juice and a little more salt and pepper just before serving.
The results were delicious and it certainly was easy. All you really need is good quality fish. I would imagine that you could substitute just about any firm-textured fish you like such as salmon, catfish, swordfish, or even tuna. I would avoid flaky fish like cod, trout, sole, and perch, just because I think they would fall apart on the grill as they cooked. You could probably roast or broil those types of fish with a similar marinade and it would be delicious. I hope this recipe gives you some inspiration for cooking in the coming warmer weather. If you live in New England, I know you’re ready for it just as much as I am. Bon apétit!