spiced rubbed halibut (with two simple sauces)

April 29, 2013 § 24 Comments

A number of my dinners are created from a single craving.  The other day I had a craving so, I went to the market specifically to buy salmon.   The only salmon available was “fresh farm raised” or  “previously frozen wild caught”.  Because I prefer to purchase fresh wild caught fish I scratched the salmon idea and decided on the halibut.   Obviously I really take heed to my cravings.  Sometimes I think when I crave a specific food it is because my body needs it.  I felt like we needed fish.  Feeling very enthusiastic and eager I brought the fish home and started working on a dry rub.  To accompany our fish I prepared smashed potatoes with shallots and a hearty mixed green salad.  Heavenly.

For some reason when I get to the fish counter I always forget how much fish I need to bring home.  Fishmongers have recommended anywhere between 1/2 – 1 pound per person.  I imagine it depends on the appetite of your guests.  For our family 1/2 pound each is a perfect portion.


For the sauces I used what I could find in the refrigerator.  I made a chermoula style pesto using cilantro, garlic, cumin, lemon, olive oil and salt in the food processor.  The other sauce I prepared was greek yogurt, garlic, dill, lemon, olive oil and salt.  These two sauces were set on the table in little serving bowls to add to our plates as desired.



  • 1.5 pound fresh wild caught halibut
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter

For the dry rub

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Chermoula sauce

  • large handful cilantro
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • large pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Yogurt sauce

  • 1 cup whole milk greek yogurt
  • handful of fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


Rinse your halibut and pat dry with paper towels.  Combine all dry rub ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Using your hands rub both sides of your fish with rub and set aside to “marinade a little”.

Prepare your sauces.  For the chermoula, in a food processor chop the garlic first.  Then add everything else except the oil.  Blend.  With the motor still running gradually add the olive oil until you have a loose, pesto-like paste.  For the yogurt sauce, in medium size bowl combine all ingredients until well mixed.  Place in small serving bowls on your dinner table.

Heat a skillet over medium high heat until it is good and hot, and then add the tablespoon of oil to the pan.  Add the butter for extra flavor.  Since the pan is already hot, the oil needs only a second or two to heat up.  (I have read this is the secret to good searing technique…heat up the pan first.)

Gently lay the fish skin side up in the hot pan.  Lower the heat to medium and sear for 3-5 minutes.  Flip the fish over.  Since most of the cooking was done on the first side, the fish may only need a minute or two on the other side depending on its thickness.

Divide your fish and place onto individual serving plates.  We topped ours with a little roasted spring onions.


Serves 3

buon appetite.


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