Now that bikini season is upon us, it’s a perfect time to introduce more lean fish in your repertoire. Many casual or time-challenged cooks think this means buying a side of poached salmon from the take-out counter at the market and decorating it with lemon slices. But fish is one of the easiest proteins to prepare at home and, with a few easy pointers, you will be serving restaurant-quality fish in 30 minutes or less.
Of all the fish that satisfy my criteria (they must look appealing, fresh — not previously frozen — conscientiously caught, and mercury-safe.), halibut is my family’s favorite. I choose the thickest slab I can find and then have the guy at the seafood counter make sure it is boneless, skinless, and trimmed into nice card-shaped pieces. The thickness prevents overcooking and makes for an elegant presentation. This preparation is one of the quickest and is absolutely delicious. I would serve sautéed snap peas or spinach and brown rice on the side.
12 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
1 can anchovy-stuffed olives (available at Surfas, Beverly Hills Cheese Shop, and on gourmet food websites)
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
4 tablespoons salted capers, rinsed
5 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Six 5-ounce fillets halibut
1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Combine tomatoes, olives, lemon rind, capers, 4 tablespoons of oil, salt and pepper in a baking dish. Bake 20 minutes or until tomatoes have released their juices. Remove from the oven and keep warm.
2. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until nearly smoking. Season fish with salt and pepper.
3. Place fish in pan and cook undisturbed 2-3 minutes until crisp and golden on one side. Turn fish over and cook until the fish is fully cooked, tender to the touch and opaque in the middle.
4. Spoon some tomato-olive mixture onto warmed plates, top with fish, and serve.
Learn how to prepare seared salmon with artichokes.