Have I ever told you guys that I have FIVE older brothers? No? It’s true.
When each of my brothers and I turned 21, my dad took us on a fishing trip to Alaska. In 2005, it was my turn to go to Alaska with my dad. Just me and him. Us and the boat. Us and the fish. Despite doing a lot of fishing growing up (I grew up with outdoorsy boys, after all), the first time I caught a salmon, I freaked out a little. 🙂I’ve always loved salmon and halibut; we ate a lot of it growing up as a result of the fishing trips every few years. But after this trip, I enjoyed eating it even more since it was kind of nostalgic for me. And eating wild fish from the ocean is so much better than farmed fish.
When Foodbuzz sent out an email announcing that they were teaming with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute to give 12 bloggers the chance to host a themed party using the Cook It Frozen! methods with seafood sent straight from Alaska, I jumped at the opportunity and sent in my proposed theme:
I have a husband who swears he can’t stand seafood. I think he’s just never had it in a way that he enjoys since I truly believe good quality seafood is pretty hard to hate! I would use fresh halibut to create a dish that even he can’t resist. I would love to track down a few other “fish haters” to invite to change their minds too!
And guess what? I got selected! I got to choose from many different seafoods from Alaskan Seafood to use for my themed party for this post, but I chose halibut since it’s a great fish to introduce to seafood haters. It’s firm, meaty, not “fishy,” and pairs well with many flavors. It’s often called the “steak” of seafood.
Besides, I’m kind of a halibut pro. My dad is pointing to the largest halibut. Yeah, that would be my halibut. I caught that sucker. OK, I couldn’t exactly reel it in all by myself (it was over 30 pounds and was a fighter!), but I hooked it, therefore, it’s mine. 🙂 So, I decided to do halibut two ways: fish tacos and grilled halibut with a flavorful salsa. I combined different aspects from different recipes and knew the best way to have a great meal was to pair the fresh halibut with fresh ingredients. Off to the farmer’s market I went!
After the farmer’s market, I stopped at a Hispanic grocery store to get some ingredients I couldn’t find locally. I also bought some Mexican soda to complete the feast. 🙂
Aren’t fresh ingredients so pretty? After I stopped admiring the pretty colors, I got to work chop, chop, chopping. First up, I prepared my salsa for the grilled halibut dish.
Grilled Halibut with Pineapple Salsa
4 (8-ounce) halibut fillets, frozen or thawed
1 T canola oil
- 1/2 small pineapple, peeled and cut into 1-inch thick rings
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 small jicama, peeled and finely diced
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 1 fresh Cayenne pepper
- 3 T rice vinegar
- 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 T finely chopped basil
- Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat your grill to medium-high (I just used a stove-top grill pan). Place the pineapple rings on the hot grill and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. 2. Roast your red bell pepper. You can do this do ways: if you have a gas oven, just hold it over the flame of one of your burners until each side is black and charred brown. If you don’t have gas burners (we don’t), turn your oven broiler to high and place the pepper on a baking sheet on the 2nd to highest rack in your oven. Cook under the broiler until each side has turned black and the skin looks crackly. This took me about 3 minutes per side.
3. After the red pepper is charred on all sides, remove from the pan, place in a bowl and cover for 10 minutes.
4. While your pepper cools, dice the pineapple, removing the core from each ring.
5. Combine all other ingredients with the pineapple in a medium-sized bowl.
6. Remove the charred skin from your bell pepper. Slice open and remove the seeds. Finely dice and add to the bowl with the rest of the salsa ingredients.
No, you can’t have any Maizey! You are allergic to onions.
All mixed together! Quite possibly the prettiest salsa ever. 9. For the halibut, preheat a grill pan to medium-high heat. Brush each side of the fillets with the oil.
10. Place the halibut in the hot pan and sear on one side for 4 minutes.
I threw my fillets on there completely frozen. Rock hard (just like my abs ;)…ok, maybe not). It was so frozen I couldn’t separate the two fillets. And guess what? That’s totally ok.
11. Flip the halibut after you have a nice sear, reduce the heat to medium and cover. I just used aluminum foil since I didn’t have a lid for this pan.
12. If you are using frozen fish, cook for an additional 7-10 minutes, covered. After about 5 minutes, I used a fork to break apart the two fillets and let them continue cooking with a little personal space. (If you are using thawed fish, it should only take about 5 minutes, uncovered.)
Well, hello beautiful.
Alright, onto the tacos. I thawed the rest of the halibut overnight in the fridge since I planned to fry it for my tacos.
Slice slice. I’m so good with knives. (Not.) Could I be the next Food Network Star? Move over Aarti.
I marinated the sliced fish in this delicious concoction for 20 minutes. Then I put the fish hater to work, battering and frying the fish. Get to work boy! Perfectly fried fish.
Marinated Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw & Chipotle Crema
- 3 (4 oz) halibut fillets, thawed and sliced into 1/2 inch strips
- 10-15 corn or flour tortillas, heated on a pan on the stove over medium heat (about 30 seconds each side) and placed between a towel to keep warm
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
- 10 cloves garlic, slied
- 2 serrano chilis, stemmed and sliced
- 2 t dried oregano
- 1 T salt
- 3/4 c + 1 T ice water
- 2 1/2 t mustard
- 1 c all-purpose flour
- Canola oil, for deep frying
1. Combine all marinade ingredients and add fish strips. Marinate for 20 minutes.
2. For the tempura batter, whisk together the ice water and mustard. Gently stir in the flour, but don’t overmix (it’s ok to be a little lumpy). Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Drain the fish strips and pat dry with a paper towel.
4. Using a deep pot, heat 2-3 inches of oil over medium heat until it reaches 360 degrees. Remove batter from fridge and stir.
5. Dip the fish strips into the batter, a few at a time, to evenly coat. Drop them into the hot oil, frying no more than 4 pieces at a time. Fry until a light golden brown. They’ll start to float in the oil when done, about 2.5 minutes per batch.
6. As you cook the rest of the fish, be sure to continue to monitor the temperature of the oil; you want it to stay around 360 degrees so they cook properly. Too low, the fish will be oily. Too hot, it will burn.
- 1/2 head small green cabbage, julienned
- 2 T mayonanaise
- 3/4 t fresh lime juice
- 2 drops hot sauce
1. Combine all ingredients, refrigerate and use with a few hours.
- 1 c mayonnaise
- 1 T pureed canned chipotle chilis in adobo sauce
- 2 t fresh lime juice
- 1 T cilantro
- 1/8 t kosher salt
1. Whisk all ingredients together and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before serving.
To assemble your tacos, lay a piece of fried fish on the tortilla and top with slaw and crema.
With all the fish cooked and friends arriving, we were officially ready to party. I mean, who wouldn’t want seconds of this?
Shall we look a little closer? I thought so. Mmmm…tasty.
No party is complete without dessert. Key lime pie. Yes please.
I made up little fish fact cards to give to my guests. Some of my favorite facts I included were:
- Because of the strict laws around fishing in Alaska, no Alaskan seafood has been on the endangered list. Ever.
- Alaska wrote sustainability laws into their constitution when they became a state. This helps ensure there will be Alaskan seafood for future generations.
- Alaskan seafood is a great resource for omega-3s and vitamin D.
[For more information on how Alaskan seafood and fisheries are managed, check out the Alaska Seafood website. I’m so impressed with their sustainability.]
The morals of this long story:
- Fish haters have probably just not had good fish or had it prepared well.
- Fresh ingredients make any meal better.
- It is so easy to have fish on a regular basis. Especially using the Cook It Frozen! techniques. I mean, I threw a whole frozen halibut fillet on the pan and it cooked up great. Honestly, the texture was perfect, and it only took about 15 minutes total to cook.
- Wild Alaskan fish honestly does taste better than the farmed variety.
Trust me. I’m an expert. 🙂What’s your favorite seafood? Or are you a hater?