For those watching their waistline this lean halibut recipe only tastes indulgent. The fish is steamed and paired with a vibrant sauce made of fresh ginger, sweet mango and jalapeño peppers. Heart-healthy halibut is low-carb, low-fat, packed with nutrients—and in season!
In this simple recipe, halibut is lightly seasoned, wrapped in foil and baked in a hot oven. This steams the halibut, creating the most succulent fish imaginable—without any additional fat. The key to cooking fish is to remove it from the oven before it’s completely done because the residual heat continues to cook it. (You can always toss it back in the oven if needed, but it’s impossible to rescue overcooked fish.)
Mangos are lovely paired with fish but, because they contain an enzyme that acts as natural tenderizer, they change the texture of your fish over time. (I once made the mistake of steaming the halibut with the mango sauce and the fish was reduced to mush.) All to say, once the fish is slathered with the vibrant sauce, enjoy it straight away.
Serves 3 to 4
This recipe works well with cod, too.
■ 1 pound halibut steaks or fillets (if using fillets, remove the skin)
■ Kosher salt
■ Freshly ground black pepper
■ 1 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (finely chopped if not using a food processor)
■ 1 tsp finely minced garlic, about 1 clove
■ 1 jalapeño pepper,* seeded and finely chopped
■ 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, about 1-inch chunk, peeled and finely chopped or finely grated with a microplane grater
■ 2 Tbsp lime juice, about 1 lime
■ 2 Tbsp soy sauce
■ 1 Tbsp fish sauce (Golden Boy is my go-to brand)
■ 1 ripe Ataulfo mango, peeled and diced (finely chopped if not using a food processor, but reserve a few diced pieces for garnish if desired)
*not to be confused with ground chilli peppers
Line a shallow ovenproof dish with enough aluminum foil to enclose the fish. The container should be large enough to fit the fish in a single layer.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Place the fish in the foil-lined dish, season with salt and freshly ground pepper and bring to room temperature. If your fish is thinner than 1-inch thick, season just before baking. (Salt enhances flavour and moisture when applied to a thick portion of fish 15-20 minutes before cooking. A thinner fish is too delicate to pre-season as the salt can can render it tough or dry.)
While the fish comes to temperature, combine the remaining ingredients but the mango in a small food processor or blender, and process until combined. Add the diced mango (reserve some for the garnish, if desired) and process briefly so the mango pieces are still visible. The sauce should have texture.
If you’re not using a food processor, hand-mix all of your sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.
Transfer the mixture to a small saucepan and simmer on low heat for about five minutes. (The longer the mixture simmers, the tamer the sauce.) You'll need to re-heat the sauce just before serving.
Wrap the seasoned fish tightly in foil and bake in a preheated oven 8-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.
Test the fish after 8 minutes; it should be nearly opaque in the centre and bounce back when you press the surface with your finger (rather than sink in and retain a dent.) . If you've opted for a halibut steak, as pictured, the fish should cling to the bone but not so much that it's impossible to separate. When tested with a knife, the fish should hold together, rather than separate into flakes.
The residual heat continues to cook the fish out of the oven, so if it’s slightly underdone, it should be perfectly cooked by the time it gets to the table.
Transfer the fish to heated plates and top with the rewarmed sauce. Garnish with a few pieces of diced mango, if desired. Serve immediately.
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