Halibut with caramelized onions, tomatoes and raisins Ronit Penso
appetizer, Entree, Fish, Recipes

Halibut with Lightly Caramelized Onions, Tomatoes and Raisins

Halibut with caramelized onions, tomatoes and raisins Ronit PensoDue to a hectic week I didn’t have the time to prepare a new post, so I’ve decided to re-post this recipe, from the earlier days of the blog. Many of you probably haven’t seen it, and those who did will hopefully enjoy a reminder for this tasty recipe.

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 of this dish as an appetizer, or serve a larger portion as an entrée, on a bed of your preferred starch. Here I chose to serve it on 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.
Halibut with caramelized onions, tomatoes and raisins Ronit PensoP1020907P1020908
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.
How to peel a tomato, Ronit Penso, Tasty EatsP1020885P1020884P1020886P1020887P1020888P1020894How to peel a tomato, Ronit Penso, Tasty Eats
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.
Halibut with caramelized onions, tomatoes and raisins Ronit PensoP1020891P1020892 P1020896
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.
P1020898P1020901P1020909Halibut with caramelized onions, tomatoes and raisins Ronit Penso
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.

P1020916P1020918 Halibut with caramelized onions, tomatoes and raisins Ronit Penso

42 thoughts on “Halibut with Lightly Caramelized Onions, Tomatoes and Raisins”

  1. Halibut is such a great fish, one that can be prepared any number of ways.Your preparation of it here, with the caramelized onions and tomatoes, sounds wonderful. And date syrup is something entirely new to me. I need to check it out, too. Thanks for sharing your recipe.


    1. Thank you. I’m glad you liked the idea. Halibut is indeed a great fish. I usually like to poach it, to keep it moist and lock the flavor in, which is basically what I did here.

      Date syrup, sometimes called “Date honey” is a great thing to have in the kitchen. It was introduced in Israel with Jewish refugees from Iraq. They used to make it at home, from strained cooked dates, a pretty lengthy preparation. It quickly became very popular and now there are many types of commercial ones, which are not bad at all. I use the one in the link, but any other would do.


  2. Oh Yum…I use date syrup in some of the recipes too , but the halibut would be a new one.What about the Pomegranate molasses , can I skip it ? Does it alter the dish considerably?


    1. Thank you, I’m glad you liked the recipe.
      The pomegranate syrup adds acidity combined with sweetness, but is not that crucial. You can add the same amount of aged Balsamic vinegar to compensate, or increase the lemon and honey. Change things according to your likings. 🙂


    1. Thank you Karin, I’m glad you liked the recipe. It’s my pleasure to share. Date syrup is a wonderful ingredient, that I’m sure you’ll enjoy once you’ll try it. However, if you can’t find it, maple syrup/honey/more pomegranate molasses are good substitutes. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Glad to know and hope you’ll enjoy it.
          As for date syrup, you can substitute with maple syrup, more pomegranate molasses, honey, brown sugar, etc. The flavor will be a bit different, but it’s really not that crucial here.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. What an interesting recipe with such lovely middle eastern flavours. We don’t have halibut here. Is it a mild flavoured fish?

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.