I was fortunate enough to get some beautiful wild Halibut, and got curious about the origin of its name. At least according to Wikipedia “the name is derived from haly (holy) and butt (flat fish), for its popularity on Catholic holy days”. What a combination of the high and the low! Who knew?
Holy or not, I’ve decided to pair the fish with a favorite ingredient of mine – caramelized onions. Unlike in my recipe for chicken with caramelized onions, here the cooking of the fish has to be very short, or it will become dry. So, the solution is to take the time to caramelize the onions and create a nice sauce, and add the fish at the very last stages of cooking. The result is a succulent fish, with a rich sweet-sour sauce.
You can serve a small portion as an appetizer, or serve a larger portion as an entrée, on a bed of your preferred starch. Here I’ve used plain couscous (check here for instructions on how to prepare the couscous).
* Pomegranate molasses and Date syrup are available in many health stores and online. If you can’t get them, substitute with same amounts of aged Balsamic vinegar and maple syrup or brown sugar.
Makes: 8 appetizer size, 4 entrée size
Prep time: the sauce: 20 minutes, the fish: 10 minutes
Cooking time: the sauce: 45 minutes, the fish: 5-7 minutes
1.8 lb (800 grams) Wild Halibut
3 medium size vine-ripened tomatoes
6 medium size onions
2 Tbs light olive oil
2 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs pomegranate molasses *
2 Tbs Date syrup *
1 Tbs honey
1 Tbs fresh chopped thyme + for serving
¼ cup golden raisins
1. The fish: with a sharp knife, remove the Halibut skin and cut into portions of about 3.5oz (100 grams). Keep in the fridge until ready to cook. Bring to room temperature before cooking.
2. The tomatoes: with a sharp knife, cut an X on each tomato and place in a bowl. Cover with boiling water and let stand for about 1 minute. Drain, let cool a bit and remove the skin. Cut each tomato into quarters. Remove the centers with the seeds and place in a small sieve. Squeeze and keep the juice. Discard skins and centers. Cut into medium cubes.
3. The sauce: peel and half the onions, lengthwise, and slice them with a sharp knife. Pour the oil into a wide pot. Add the onions, 1 tsp of the salt and the pepper. Cook on medium-low heat, mixing occasionally, until the onions soften and start to brown, about 20 minutes.
4. Add the tomatoes, with their strained juice, the lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, date syrup, honey and the 1 remaining tsp of salt. Mix and continue cooking for 15 minutes. Add the thyme and raisins. Mix and cook for 10 minutes, or until most of the liquids evaporated. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
5. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the fish pieces, in one layer, not touching one another. Cover the the pot and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the fish is cooked through but still very moist. Serve immediately, sprinkled with fresh thyme on top.