11 April 2010

Sesame Crusted Halibut with Stir-fried Vegetables

Can you believe it? Tonight is the first time in my life that I have eaten halibut? How is this possible? I think I have always been intimidated  by the circular bone that is so prominent in the halibut steaks. Then, the long cuts of halibut have the added bone that radiates to either end of the 'fletch' ... and what the heck is that name all about? Not to mention, fishy skin that looks kinda like sharkskin... call me a wimp when it comes to fish.

I know this strange quirkiness comes from my childhood. Blame it on my mom who always warned us about choking on fishbones. She must have gotten a fishbone stuck crossways at some point in time, because she was totally paranoid when we had fish for dinner (which wasn't often!). The thing is, I love seafood! Over the years, I've worked my way up from fish sticks, to clams and crab, to cod fillets, to swordfish, to tuna, to scallops (no bones there!), to sea bass, to monkfish, to lobster, to salmon, to flounder, to hake,  to trout. How is it that I missed halibut?

This past week, a friend was raving about halibut and the fact that it was currently a steal at the market, so I took the bait (sorry) and bought a 'fletch' ... and what the heck is THAT all about? What is a fletch? I looked it up; it's an arrow! Again, what the heck?

Anyway... this Asian influenced recipe came from Harvest Eating.com. I played with the oils a bit to fit my taste. The peapods at the market looked like yuck, so I left them out of the veggie stir-fry. I also cooked some jasmine rice to soak up the sesame vinaigrette sauce, which is quite strong (take that as a hint to go easy).

I cannot believe how tasty the halibut was! The sesame crust had just enough saltiness and crunch to complement the smooth flake of the fish flesh. The sesame vinaigrette sauce is strong, but has a nice combination of ginger and sesame. I'll be keeping the recipe and playing with it some more. If you try it, let me know what you think.

Sesame Crusted Halibut for Two - printer friendly

Sesame Crusted Halibut for Two
adapted from Harvest Eating.com’s recipe

fresh halibut steaks – 1 inch thick, skin on (allow 6 oz. per serving)
soy sauce for marinating
½ c. flour
generous sprinklings black and white sesame seeds
peanut oil or clarified butter for searing and stir-fry
kosher salt and black pepper
three carrots, peeled
two handsful peapods, pull the strings off them and ‘tip’ them
½ sweet red pepper
½ sweet yellow pepper
generous pinch red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. ginger root, minced

Making the Dish:

1. Wash and dry the halibut. Lay it in a glass dish with about ¼ c. low-sodium soy sauce. Turn it to coat. Set aside for about ten minutes.

2. Combine flour, black and white sesame seeds, pepper and a bit of kosher salt in a pan.

3. Prepare the vegetables by washing, and julienning them. Mince the ginger.

4. Heat an oven-proof non-stick skillet over high heat. Add peanut oil and swirl to coat pan. Dredge the halibut and lay it into the hot oil. Sear for 2-3 minutes per side. Place pan in a 400° F oven and finish the fish for another 10 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, heat a wok over high heat. Add 1 tbsp. peanut oil and swirl to coat wok.

6. Add ginger and red pepper flakes and stir-fry for 30 seconds.

7. Add carrots and continue to stir-fry for three to four minutes.

8. Add sweet peppers and pea pods and continue tossing for another three to four minutes.

9. Arrange the stir-fry veggies on a platter. Place the halibut on them and drizzle with a bit of sesame ginger vinaigrette (recipe below). Serve with a small bowl of extra vinaigrette for dipping the fish.

Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette

1/8 c. toasted white sesame seeds
¼ c. sesame oil
¼ c. peanut oil
¼ c. rice vinegar
1 tbsp. ginger root, minced
1 ½ tsp. soy sauce

Making the Vinaigrette:

1. Toast the sesame seeds and place them in the bowl of a handblender.

2. Add the minced ginger root, rice vinegar, and soy sauce.

3. Use hand blender to purée.

4. Combine the oils and drizzle them into the sesame ginger purée while blending to form an emulsion.


  1. This recipe looks delicious and I do like halibut. My mother had a real hangup about fish bones and, when I was a child, she would carefully go through my serving as well as my two sister's. I just discovered your delicious blog and look forward to returning and spending some time.


  2. Susan @ Bonnie13/4/10 7:06 AM

    Welcome Bonnie! Thanks for dropping in! I hope you find some interesting posts and some fun inspirations for reading ... look for me on your blog also! I'll be sure to visit you! Guten apetit!

  3. My dad loved fish and mom hated it, so at best we had fish sticks and canned tuna or salmon. Once in a vague while she would fix creamed cod from that horrible salty stuff that comes in a box. Yuck! However I too have learned to love all kinds of fish and seafood. Haddock is another treat if you can find it. Sushi and sashimi next? I love those too!

  4. Not a fish guy but halibut wasn't bad when I had it...once!


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