Halibut with Ginger-Raisin Crust

Adapted from For Cod and Country

Simplicity wins over again and again. I find myself inexplicably stunned each time I re-learn this lesson. This very simply prepared fish is bursting with complex flavor. I served it with orange wedges, an arugula salad dressed with lemon juice and olive oil, and a side of Israeli couscous sprinkled with a handful of sliced almonds. This is a terrific preparation for fresh, in-season halibut.

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup raisins, finely chopped into a paste
  • 3 tablespoons whole wheat panko
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
  • Kosher salt
  • Two 10-oz. portions halibut fillet
  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Set the rack in the middle position.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons of butter, then add the chopped raisins, panko, ginger, nutmeg and orange zest. Stir until a sticky paste forms.
  • Pat the fish very dry, then lightly sprinkle it with kosher salt on the side you are going to coat with the crust. Distributing the crust evenly across both pieces of fish, press the ginger-raisin crust into the fish, gently massaging a bit to allow it to adhere.
  • Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium high heat. Melt the remaining teaspoon of butter, then place the fish in the hot pan, crust side down. After a minute or so, turn the heat down to medium and without moving the fish, allow the crust to become brown. You will be able to see it becoming golden around the edges. After a few minutes, remove the pan from the burner and transfer the entire pan into the oven without disturbing the fish. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the flesh is just opaque. For a fillet of 1-1/2 inch thickness, this should be ample time. Adjust the cooking time according to the thickness of the fish. Don’t over do it or the fish will dry out.
  • Remove the pan from the oven. No matter how many times I do this and how many times I remind myself not to touch the hot handle, I always seem to grab the hot handle at some point. I’m fine getting it out of the oven and getting the item out of the skillet, but then inevitably I try to move the pan and grab it from the handle with my bare hand. Learn from my foolishness here, people. Don’t touch that handle!
  • Use a spatula to gently lift the fish from the pan and turn it over onto a serving platter, crust side up. Divide the fish into portions at the table. Serve with fresh orange wedges.
  • Quick Tips
  • 1. I used whole wheat panko because that’s what I had on hand. If you have regular panko, there is no need to run out and get whole wheat for the purposes of this recipe since the original recipe uses regular.
  • 2. The original recipe called for mace where I’ve used nutmeg. If you have the foggiest idea what this is and you actually happen to own some, then use it. If not, don’t worry about it and use the ground nutmeg, which lent a lovely spiced scent to the crust.
  • 3. Be a little careful when browning the crust on the stove. The crust was a little darker than I would have liked because my stove was a bit too hot for the delicate dried fruit and breadcrumbs. I’ve adjusted the temperatures accordingly here so that you will not make the same mistake I made.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 25 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

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